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Country Discussion Topics
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Russian olive
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hay    Posted 04-29-2004 at 12:32:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
a friend suggested to try russian olive (eleagnus) for a hedge around the garden. he said it makes colorful fruit and the birds love it. my question is: is the fruit edible for humans? does anyone have any information on the care, spacing, and ultimate height of this plant?

hay    Posted 04-30-2004 at 02:45:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
thanx to everyone for the information.

tortmort    Posted 04-29-2004 at 21:21:49       [Reply]  [Send Email]
They are definitely edible. It is from the Elaeagnus family. I grow them and they are good as hedge or even trained as a small tree. I would suggest the excellent book "Uncommon Fruits Worthy of Attention" by Lee Reich. They are eaten in Turkey and in the United States for that matter. Flowers smell good. Also consider another Elaeagnus -- Autumn Olive. also edible.

Linda in UT    Posted 04-29-2004 at 18:48:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
No, the fruit is not edible by humans, as far as I know. If you plant this as an ornamental, you risk the wrath of farmers everywhere. Actually, it is considered a noxious weed in many parts of the country. Birds do, indeed, eat the fruit and spread the plant everywhere. Deer will eat the trees and fruit, as well, and spread the plant.

Russian Olives have nasty thorns. Plan on tearing your clothes and skin anytime you go near the trees. I can't imagine trying to prune one without donating copious amounts of blood.

I suspect they are partial to alkaline soil, as that's what we have in most parts of the west, and Russian Olives are the bain of all who live around here. They are an unbelievably hardy plant.

big fred    Posted 04-29-2004 at 12:43:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
My dad had a treerow with Russian Olive in it. They got to be maybe 30 ft tall, but of course we never tried keeping them small, so I don't know how well they prune. Never tried eating the fruit, they're pretty small and don't look too inviting. The most striking thing is the silvery cast to the leaves. They were a pretty tree. If I was putting a hedge around a garden, I think I'd prefer lilac. They can be pruned into a nice compact hedge and you just can't beat the smell when they blossom. They don't like acid soil, though.

Fern(Mi)    Posted 04-29-2004 at 17:29:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
Them Russian Olive have darned near taken over some areas of Michigan. They grow and choke out other trees and shrubs. One is pretty. Bunches turn country side un-managablely ugly. I would rather see second growth in oak or pine.
Oh well
We're fighting multifloral rose, an English import. Darndest stuff to get ride of. Supposed to make an English hedge. Ain't done nothing but grow anywhere it isn't planted, blinds livestock, and tears the rags and hide off your bones getting to close.

Burrhead    Posted 04-29-2004 at 20:15:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
Fern I could send ye some Chinese Tallow trees. Them things are the plague around here. They take over fields, push out fencerows and will grow on a blacktop almost.

Burrhead    Posted 04-29-2004 at 12:59:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
He mighta suggested the olives cause them ruskie olives love our climate here fred. never tried the lilac

hay    Posted 04-29-2004 at 14:22:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
hey burr, you about to dry out over there? we could use some rain here now. got it all in the early spring and none now. i'm trying to find out what kind of low maint edible fruiting shrub i can grow in a low rainfall area. also it's got to be acid soil tolerant (ph 4.9-5.5). any suggestions?

Burrhead    Posted 04-29-2004 at 19:51:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
can't think of any right off hay but I'll cheat and look in the Aggie handbook.

it's dried up considerable here. it went from mud to dust back to mud and now it's getting dusty again. My pastures aint doing didlum. They look like fall or spring time. They aint dead but they aint growing good.

Them russian olives will do good. I planted a few about 10 years ago and they have done really good.

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