Autumn Olive is another plant brought to the United States with good intentions that has gone wild and is creating significant damages.
Originally imported in the 1830s from Southeast Asia as an ornamental and not for wildlife food, it is now one of the most invasive plants in Indiana.
It crowds out native plants as it completely takes over an area.
It is easily recognized by the silvery appearance of the lower side of its leaves and the bright red fruit in the fall.
Flowers are a creamy yellow in the late spring.
Autumn olive is found in disturbed areas, along roadsides, in pastures, fields and sparse woodlands. It is often found in poor soils due to its nitrogen-fixing root nodules that allow it to tolerate poor conditions.
It can also survive the effects of salt, drought and pHs as low as 4.0.
However, it does not grow well in wet habitats or in dense forests. Autumn olive is now found in all counties of Indiana. It creates heavy shade that suppresses native plants that require direct sunlight.
The seed of the autumn olive is widely dispersed by birds that eat large amounts of the fruit. Each plant can produce up to 80 pounds of fruit each year.
The fruit is very high in lycopene and other nutrients and is edible and can be consumed fresh, dried as fruit leather or used for jam jellies and sauces.
Hand pulling autumn olive seedlings can be effective. However, mowing or cutting autumn olive plants can cause vigorous resprouting. Even repeated cutting is usually ineffective without treating stumps and/or resprouts with herbicide.
Several herbicides have been used alone or in combination to control autumn olive, including glyphosate and triclopyr.
Foliar applications or triclopyr (1-2 percent) or glyphosate (1-2 percent) are effective on resprouts following cutting during the growing season.
Glyphosate (20 percent) can also be effective when applied directly to cut stumps.
Applying 2 percent triclopyr mixed with a basal oil directly to the bark on the lower portion of the woody plant is also an effective control.
Multiple treatments may be required.