General Discussion:

Russian Olive


Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Shane15-Aug-02 02:00 PM EST 3   
Susan15-Aug-02 04:30 PM EST 6a   
Ed15-Aug-02 07:00 PM EST 5b   
carolincalgary15-Aug-02 10:27 PM EST   
carolincalgary15-Aug-02 10:29 PM EST   
Barbara16-Aug-02 10:22 AM EST 2b   
16-Aug-02 12:20 PM EST 4b   
Ed16-Aug-02 07:53 PM EST 5b   
Shane18-Aug-02 06:21 PM EST 3   


Subject: Russian Olive
From: Shane
Zone: 3
Date: 15-Aug-02 02:00 PM EST

I'm considering planting a Russian Olive (elaeagnus angustifolia) in my front yard. I already have a semi-mature white spruce, and I thought they would set each other off nicely. Does anyone know the rooting habits of Russian Olive or have any horror stories? Any advise would be appreciated.

Thanks, Shane


Subject: RE: Russian Olive
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 15-Aug-02 04:30 PM EST

They do inded have very pretty silver foliage and the tree/shrub can have an interesting shape that would offer a contrast to the very regular cone shape of the spruce. The wood tends to be fairly brittle and you may lose bits and pieces of branches in storms, which can be a bit messy. The leaves are also a bit messy to clean up in the fall as they are narrow and tend to get left behind when raking. At our previous house, the next-door-neighbour had a Russian Olive that overhung the fence into our yard so we got lots of leaves. I rather liked the shape and color of the tree but my husband called it 'that cursed tree..!' because he hated trying to rake up the leaves that fell from it into our yard. So you might want to avoid planting it near a property line in case your neighbors don't like it...!


Subject: RE: Russian Olive
From: Ed
Zone: 5b
Date: 15-Aug-02 07:00 PM EST

By all means, get yourself one ! The leaf problem is minimal compared to its many attributes, not the least of which is its delightful bloom fragrance.


Subject: RE: Russian Olive
From: carolincalgary
Zone:
Date: 15-Aug-02 10:27 PM EST

I planted a Russian Olive in my newly landscaped yard 4 summers ago.There is a shubert chokecherry about 20 feet behind it and I thought the color contrast would be nice. That tree did not survive the first winter. An arborist in the spring(before we knew it did not survive) said it would prob.have a lot of die back the first 2-3 yrs and then it would be fine.The tree was replaced with one that had a lovely windswept look to one side.The next spring it eventually(very slowly) leafed out and although we had to trim back the original main branches about 2/3 it looked good.This summer it looks great and have not pruned, advised to wait until next year. It is a more rounded shape now but thats OK too. It is drought and salt tolerant so good for sites close to roads that get a lot of salt in the winter - grows well in poor soil too.Apparently the roots can easily suffer winter damage acording to one ofmy books. There is an older one in the next block from me but it is pretty rare to see them here except in some of the city parks and boulevards. Too bad - it is nice to see trees that are different colors and it is a nice size. Plant and enjoy!


Subject: RE: Russian Olive
From: carolincalgary
Zone:
Date: 15-Aug-02 10:29 PM EST

p.s. they have humongous thorns too!


Subject: RE: Russian Olive
From: Barbara
Zone: 2b
Date: 16-Aug-02 10:22 AM EST

I love to check this site out and get the various opinions from gardeners. Here's my story - for what it's worth. We had a Russion Olive growing in the front yard. Whoever planted it, placed it under a very large spruce tree, so the Olive tree had to try to reach for the sun. Consequently, it had a badly bent trunk. The old spruce tree was dead and had to be removed, so we were left with only the Russian Olive. We tried to prune it back and do something with the shape of the tree, but it was too late to drastically alter its shape. I probably would have left the tree, but for two other 'faults'. It was always the last to leaf out in the spring and the last to lose its leaves in the fall. Long after we had raked up the oak and elm leaves and put away the rake for the year, the Russian Olive would finally drop the last of its leaves. Generally, there would be snow on the ground and so the leaves would be left to clean up in the spring. The other complaint was that the bark easily peeled away from the trunk and would hang there. The neighbourhood kids loved to peel the bark off the tree. The tree always looked 'messy'. We eventually had to get rid of the tree. That said, the park down the street has a beautiful Russian Olive tree that I always admired. I guess the upshot of it is - if you like the look of the tree, so ahead and plant it.


Subject: RE: Russian Olive
From:
Zone: 4b
Date: 16-Aug-02 12:20 PM EST

this source says russian olive can be invasive and destructive to local riparian ecosystems...

http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/elan1.htm

invasiveness aside, i have planted one in my front yard...this is year three and it is doing quite well....


Subject: RE: Russian Olive
From: Ed
Zone: 5b
Date: 16-Aug-02 07:53 PM EST

An old Sheridan Nurseries catalogue lists R Olives in both the tree & shrub sections. Some 50 yrs ago,I decided to use my half acre Veteran's Land Act Holding to start a 1-person nursery; early in my new hobby, I sold a Russian Olive " shrub " to a fellow- veteran- friend, who on numerous visits over the years has made a point of chiding me for the monstrocity that features two 8-10" diameter trunks, one of which is parallel to the ground and perhaps 3' above it. He claims he was told it would grow only " so " high ! It turned out to be a great conversation piece, at least between the two of us ! Without admitting it, I'm sure he treasures the characer of this unusual specimen, if only as a memento of its source.


Subject: RE: Russian Olive
From: Shane
Zone: 3
Date: 18-Aug-02 06:21 PM EST

Thanks to everyone who contributed. I will let you know what I ultimately decide, but I have a feeling that I will be seeing an olive in my yard soon! :)


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