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Hardiness: USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F) USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F) USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F) USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F) USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F) USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F) USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F) USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Danger: Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling
Bloom Color: Pale Yellow Bright Yellow
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Other details: May be a noxious weed or invasive Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Soil pH requirements: 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic) 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline) 7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline) 8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)
Patent Information: Non-patented
Propagation Methods: From woody stem cuttings From semi-hardwood cuttings From hardwood cuttings From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse From seed; stratify if sowing indoors Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked From seed; sow indoors before last frost From seed; direct sow after last frost From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel
On Aug 29, 2011, Larch16 from Kamloops, BC (Zone 5a) wrote:
These trees will take over. Around here, they grow thick by rivers and roadsides. They are prickly as well. But they are a tree and in my opinion look better than no trees at all. I really like the look of the bark. The trees kind of look like giant sagebrush. I would not recommend planting this tree unless you make sure it doesn't spread and are prepared for the new trees.
On Jul 3, 2011, mechanicx from Slave Lake Canada wrote:
I think I live in zone 2A... bear with me... I'm an occasional gardener... if it grows, I leave it alone. This tree is unique to our town - I think I have one of very few (if not the only one in town). It has done quite well but hasn't gotten out of hand - probably due to our climate. In about 8 years, it has reached about 12 feet tall and about 10 feet across with a forked trunk (kids will be kids). My wife and I love it.
I had a great Russian Olive in my yard in Southern CO. We lived in a high desert area, very dry climate. I never had trouble with dead limbs, thorns or suckers. I was very consistant with pruning on Valintine's Day weekend and it leafed out great. I do know they can be very invasive in wet areas such as river banks, so I wouldn't even consider them in a wet climate.
On Jul 6, 2010, Quixxel from Salt Lake City, UT wrote:
This tree is absolutely horrible. My neighbors have some, and every year we have to go out and kill the sprouts that have appeared on our yard. We let them get big once, and it was a definite battle to get past the thorns and cut it down. They are also very invasive in this area
I have this growing wild on my 3 acre property. It's mostly on the borders of my property line. In the summer, it makes a great visual blockade to my idiot neighbors' Fred Sanford-esque property. Yep, there's nothing like living next to a guy who'd rather pave a basketball court in his side yard, next to my front yard, than re-shingle his house, which is falling into dis-repair. Oh, and the junky motorhome, bobcat excavator, and other various heavy equipment implements haphazardly strewn about his yard, further add to the low-life ambience.
Which brings me back to the Russian Olive. I plan to propagate a lot more of this natural screen along my property, in hopes that I won't have to see his eyesore, save for the Winter months, after the leaves have fallen.
On Jun 21, 2007, dicentra63 from West Valley City, UT (Zone 6b) wrote:
I absolutely love my mature Russian Olive tree, which provides wonderful shade for my hammock and looks fabulous.
Ok, except for the lower branches that have died and are very difficult to remove because the wood is very hard. But other than that, I have had no problems with it. There are a few suckers, but nothing out of control, and the seeds don't seem to germinate at all. Compared to the two specimens of Ailanthus altissima (Tree of H*ll; which seeds and suckers like crazy) and the two Chinese Elms nearby (whose paper-coin seeds are ALL viable), my Russian Olive is a perfect angel.
And I LOVE the hypnotic odor it produces in the spring. I am not tormented by allergies, so I am free to enjoy it.
This plant grows widely in central Asia. Last week (2007-06-10) I was in Kazakhstan. I noticed several blooming bushes along the roadside. I had a tree in our yard, back home in Afghanistan It's redish fruit consumed by people. The fruit has a seed which could be used to grow seedlings. I have grown plants from seeds. Propagation by cuttings also very common.
On Aug 13, 2006, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:
An invasive, native-damaging weed that reseeds readily. It does fix nitrogen in the soil, growing in very wet to very dry conditions. The "fragrance" is often enough to give people hayfever from the sickly-sweet river of air flowing downwind.
My personal attack on the plant involves revenge. It is a wildcard for woodburning heat quality. And harvest... well, you have not lived until you have had the pleasure of one of its stem-style thorns slash through a wrist or leg.
I see this plant as having some limited but good uses (living snowfence in nasty places like greater Wyoming) but should be carefully thought out before using in a landscape.
On Sep 6, 2005, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:
We had two Russian olives in our yard when I was younger. It is an introduced species that has become naturalized in North America. It can be considered as either a large shrub or a small tree with single or multiple trunks. It will grow about as wide as it does tall. It is considered drought and salt tolerant.
Russian olives are interesting as ornamentals. The silver foliage contrasts with green foliage from other trees. Its twisting, irregular form and near-black bark provide more interest and contrast against snow in winter. The blossoms are fragrant and the fruit attracts birds.
On the downside, whole branches can die back and require pruning, resulting in an unsightly appearance. The shallow roots may be susceptible to winter injury. The pollen is nasty, and can make life miserable for allergy sufferers. They can be messy; a storm or a windy day will leave a lot of twig and leaf litter. The branches have long, sharp thorns, which can be dangerous for small children or pets. In some climate zones it is considered an invasive plant. It can also suffer from canker and verticillium wilt.
On Sep 12, 2004, Mader631 from Schofield, WI wrote:
Just bought a bare Root Russian olive this spring. It is about 3ft tall, Very strong plant. Can handle Drought type weather, it's planted in almost 100% sand. The thing will not Die...... I bought it for $5.00.
On Aug 25, 2004, sugarweed from Jacksonville & Okeechobee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:
This tree is abundant along the banks of the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For weeks in the spring. the beautiful fragrance permiatess the air. It is also very pretty in this natural setting with constant wet feet.
Since writing the above description, I have learned that this species is EXTREMLY invasive and chokes out natural habitat. This makes it a bad choice for planting. Do an advanced search and find a tree native to your area.
On Aug 24, 2004, sheilad from Ottawa Canada wrote:
I planted a russian olive in summer of 2001. In the Ottawa area it is advertised as a plant with virtually no problems and is widely planted. It has grown quite a lot but every year has had quite a number of branches die, detracting substantially from the beauty of the tree's silvery foliage. The dead leaves hang on the branches all winter and through the summer until they are pruned out. Gummy resin oozes from cracks in the bark. My tree is about 15 foot tall and planted in well drained soil. I have since inquired at my plant nursery and found out that I am not alone.
On Apr 17, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:
Russian-olive is a native of southern Europe and western Asia. It was introduced into the United States in the early 1900's.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Memphis, Alabama Flagstaff, Arizona La Habra, California Beulah Valley, Colorado Florence, Colorado Grand Junction, Colorado St Augustine, Florida Boise City, Idaho Benton, Kentucky Cresaptown-bel Air, Maryland Elephant Butte, New Mexico Belfield, North Dakota Medora, North Dakota Bucyrus, Ohio Deschutes River Woods, Oregon Ione, Oregon Houserville, Pennsylvania , Quebec Amarillo, Texas Elwood, Utah West Valley City, Utah Leesburg, Virginia Silverdale, Washington Dubois, Wyoming