A deciduous shrub with white flowers in spring and bright red berries in fall, autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) originally came from Asia and was widely planted in the U.S. for wildlife food and erosion control. It can grow up to 15 feet high.
It invades field and field edges and spreads easily. Plus, autumn olive’s ability to fix nitrogen helps it out-compete and displace native species.
Seedlings and small saplings may be hand pulled, cut, or mowed. Larger plants may be controlled with a systemic herbicide. For small numbers of mature plants, cutting followed by painting of freshly cut stumps with a systemic herbicide is effective. For large numbers of mature plants, treatment with a foliar spray of a systemic herbicide may be more practical. Always read and follow the directions on the label when using herbicide.