What should I plant after autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) removal? Is...

Asked March 13, 2019, 5:21 PM EDT

What should I plant after autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) removal? Is there a specific ground cover or cover crop that will help to restore the altered soil more quickly than, say, a general wildflower mix?

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

Hello Good for you to remove autumn olive, Elaeagenus umbellata, which is a non native that grows in sandy non-fertile soils because it is able to fix nitrogen. It grows rapidly and produces large amounts of fruit and seeds. Thus it is able to shade out slower growing native plants. To replace the tree, you must consider the site: the type of soil, amount of moisture, hours of sunlight, and competition from other plants. Because autumn olive grows so well in nutrient free soils, to replace it, you should first deal with the soil by having it tested. To obtain a soil testing kit go to: https://homesoiltest.msu.edu/get-started The test will give you an analysis of the soil and what amendments you will need. It is possible that by adding compost to the area, you can improve the fertility if necessary. It is difficult to help with plant choices without more information about the site. I suggest that you obtain the soil analysis, study the hours of sunlight and shade (whether am or pm) of the area, ( is the area facing north, south, east or west), and list the plants that are presently growing on the property. And finally, what do you want thereā€”a tree, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, or annuals? Please send more questions if you have them.