Naturalists have begun eradicating an invasive plant species called the Autumn Olive near Lake Monroe they say threatens the livelihood of native plants.
Department of Natural Resources Interpretative Naturalist Jill Vance says its greyish-green leaves with a silvery white hue on the bottom are a bad sign for surrounding plants.
“It out competes it by over shading and over crowding the other plants,” she says. “So it just kinda moves into an area and its kinda like a bully it just kinda pushes the other plants of the way.”
Autumn Olive can produce up to 80 pounds of berries a season that make soils infertile. What is worse, birds spread Autumn Olive’s berries, seeding a much wider area.
‘So we actually remove the plant,” Vance says. “We cut it off close to the ground and remove the brush. And then we treat the stump with an herbicide to try to keep it from resprouting.”
Vance says DNR officials have begun burning some of the plants that have been cleared, but adds the battle against its spread will be all but impossible to win.