Russian Olive (Elaeagnus augustifolia):
These are tough prairie trees that ironically thrive on abuse. Place them in a manicured irrigated garden with good loam and they will likely die, plant them along a windswept Calgary boulevard and they will likely thrive. Although beautiful especially for their silvery contrast they are inconsistent in performance making them a less than desirable choice for a tree in a key role in your landscape.
Size & Characteristics: Russian Olive mature at 6m (20’) wide by 6m (20’) tall. They have dark bark and a contrasting silvery / green leaf and are very striking as a mature specimen. They also have spines that may be several inches long so care must be taken when pruning or handling fallen branches.
One other detrimental factor is compared to other trees Russian Olives tend to have brittle branches which may result in a mis-shapen form if a key branch breaks off. This may occur in a late spring snowstorm or high winds.
Pests & Diseases: None of note
© Clayton Ditzler