You are now in an Autumn Olive Zone! These tall grey-leaved shrubs lining the path shouldn’t be here. This Asian species was once widely used in Canada and the United States as a “wildlife” planting to provide food and cover for wildlife. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Conservation Authorities encouraged landowners to plant it to enhance natural areas. Many were planted at Joany’s Woods in the 1980s and 1990s. Now the species is recognized as a problematic invasive species and is not recommended for planting anywhere. It spreads quickly as the birds eat the soft red berries and spread the seeds in their droppings. Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) is difficult to eradicate once it is established and it spreads over meadows and into natural areas competing with native plants. It isn’t even that great as a food source for the wildlife! Keeping the Autumn Olive from overgrowing the trail is a management problem for Thames Talbot Land Trust, let alone trying to eradicate this weed. We now understand that natural areas and wildlife do not benefit from the addition of exotic species like Autumn Olive.
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