History: Autumn Olive (aka Japanese Silverberry) is native to parts of Asia and was introduced to the US as an ornamental plant, erosion control, and wildlife habitat in the early 1800s. Its nitrogen-fixing properties and prolific seed production has caused it to become an invasive species in some parts of the US and Canada, so caution is recommended when planting it so it doesn't spread.
Why We Grow It: Despite its bad reputation, this shrub has many beneficial uses. The small red sweet/tart berries are good for fresh eating and making into jams and condiments while the nitrogen-fixing properties of the shrub make it a useful companion plant in orchards and agroforestry systems and for rebuilding the soil.
Canadian Hardiness Zone: 5
Soil Preference: Loam, adaptable to different soils
Growth Habits: Reaches 10-12ft tall on average, dense crown, thorns
Sun/Shade: Partial shade (approx. 6-8 hours of sun daily)