Michigan Department of Natural Resources:
Autumn olive is native to Asia and was introduced into the US in the 1830s. It was commonly planted for wildlife food and cover until its invasive traits became apparent. It produces abundant fruits that are widely distributed by birds and mammals. Like many non-native shrubs, it leafs out early and retains its leaves late in fall, shading out desirable native species and reducing species diversity. It is able to germinate and survive in shade as well as sun.
Autumn olive has root nodules that fix atmospheric nitrogen. As a result, it has the potential to degrade native plant communities that are adapted to low nutrient levels such as barrens and prairies. The resulting increase in nitrogen can promote the growth and spread of weedy species at the expense of low-nutrient adapted natives. In addition, it can increase stream water nitrate concentrations when it comprises a large portion of the stream bank vegetation.
Autumn olive does not appear to suffer significantly from herbivory by deer. In one study, it grew as tall outside of exclosures as it did within, while natives growing in the same places were much smaller when browsed by deer.
To learn more about Autumn Olive, download the DNR Best Control Practice Guide…