The role of “invasive” shrubs

From Mastodon Valley Farm/

If there’s one thing that ecologists and farmers agree on, it’s their hatred for a handful of “invasive” shrubs like prickly ash, multiflora rose, and autumn olive. Ecologists hate them because they form dense thickets that seem to crowd out other native species. Farmers and ranchers hate them because they aren’t palatable for cattle, and, without proper management, they can take over pastures, leaving less forage for livestock.

On our farm, we have a south facing hillside remnant savanna with large oak and hickory trees and a diverse understory, including many dense thickets of prickly ash, multiflora rose, and autumn olive as well as elm, ash, maple, apple, plum, hazelnut, and mulberry.