James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) is a tardily deciduous bushy leaf shrub, 3 to 20 feet in height, with scattered thorny branches. It has alternate leaves that are green above and silver scaly beneath, with many red berries in fall having silvery scales. The easiest way to identify it is by the silver underside of the leaves. Species spreads by bird- and mammal-dispersed seeds. Often planted for surface-mine reclamation and wildlife food plots and escapes to forest edges and open forests.

Management Strategies

  • DO NOT PLANT ELAEAGNUS. Remove prior plantings, and control sprouts and seedlings. Bag and dispose of fruit in a dumpster or burn.
  • Treat when new plants are young to prevent seed formation.
  • Cut and bulldoze when fruit are not present.
  • Minimize disturbance in areas where this plant occurs, and anticipate wider occupation when plants are present before disturbance.
  • Cutting and basal treatments are hindered by multiple thorny sprouts and eye protection should be used.
  • Manually pull new seedlings and saplings when soil is moist, ensuring removal of all roots.
  • Burning treatments are suspected of having minimal topkill effect due to scant litter.
  • Seedlings are readily eaten by goats and sheep. Goats can deaden saplings by stripping the bark and bending them over to eat the foliage.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1978 Island Ford Parkway
Sandy Springs, GA 30350


(678) 538-1200
If you should receive a message on the phone that the number is out of service or has been disconnected then try calling or texting 404-695-2620. If you know the cell number of the person you are trying to contact please use it.

Contact Us