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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Russian Olives as a nectar/pollen source

    Does anyone have information on Russian Olive trees as a nectar/pollen source? I have quite a few of them within a couple of miles of my place.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Farmington, NM
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: Russian Olives as a nectar/pollen source

    I know when I lived in Farmington NM, the last three years, they used Russian Olives for erosion control and wind breaks. But over the years the trees have become very intrusive. With that my bees would bring in pollen by the bucket loads when it was blooming. Not sure about nectar. Barry Digman might know. He still lives in the area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Stone City, Iowa
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Russian Olives as a nectar/pollen source

    Don't get me started on the d--n Russian Olive. VERY invasive and the stuff is EVERYWHERE! It chokes out everything near it. I have been battling the stuff on my property for 5 years now. On my trip from Iowa to Pennsylvania this summer I saw it on roadsides the whole way. If anyone knows a surefire way (and I can tell you fire doesn't work) of killing the stuff, let me know.

    As to your question - pollen yes, don't know about nectar. It sure smells nice when it is in bloom. Wish it wasn't so aggressive - except for that quality it's a nice plant.

    JC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Re: Russian Olives as a nectar/pollen source

    We have a lot of Russian Olive trees and the whole neighborhood smells great when it is in bloom. It blooms here about the same time as Black Locust but I wish it didn't. The Russian Olive honey has a nice flavor but there is an after taste that I cannot describe and I do not like (luckily it is subtle). Black Locust, on the other hand, is a premium honey that is water white and is one of the best in the world. If Russian Olive honey was on my toast I would eat it and enjoy it, but I would fight over the toast with locust honey.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Stone City, Iowa
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Russian Olives as a nectar/pollen source

    That is good to hear. My plan of attack this Spring was to plant Black Locust where the Russian Olive is giving me the most trouble. I figured that it was the one native plant that might be able to compete with it. That and I knew that the bees liked it. When you cut down Black Locust at least you get good fence posts.

    JC

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: Russian Olives as a nectar/pollen source

    Dirt Road

    Here in Northern New Mexico, Santa Fe and surrounding areas, russian olive has indeed become quite invasive. In many areas russian olive trees exceeding 60-75' are not uncommon. It blooms profusely and secretes abundant pollen and late spring nectar. On several occasions my bees collected a shallow box of surplus, however, I never count on it as a dependable source of nectar, as it seems to vary greatly year to year, depending on ground moisture and weather condiitons for secretion. I have beeyards in areas where the olive trees are forrests, bordering fields and arroyos. Once established, it is one of the fasters growing species I can think of (even spreading faster and growing more than black locust). I for one find it hard to complain about any available pollen/nectar source living and keeping bees in this high desert mountain. I will note though, that it is prohibited from nursery sales as an ornamental landscape plant/tree. The honey is medium amber, and usually gets mixed into black locust and other available sources as previoulsy stated, but last year our locust bloomed long after the russian olive expired.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Russian Olives as a nectar/pollen source

    Thanks for all the replies. I am also in a high desert. Around here, they are one of the very few trees which will survive without constant care.They certainly are invasive in many places, but it's nice to know that they do offer some benefit to the bees, as well as other wildlife. While there are some black locust trees in this area, they are not too common as they are generally considered to be poisonous to livestock.
    Really appreciate everyone's input.
    Russian olive, at least around here, can be controlled with 2-4-D if you can get after it while still quite young. Once it has become established I don't know what might be effective. Farmers locally will often use excavators or dozers to dig out the roots after they cut them down.
    Last edited by dirt road; 01-19-2011 at 06:01 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    449

    Default Re: Russian Olives as a nectar/pollen source

    I have a russian olive, its a shrub called silverberry. It blooms in October and the bees were all over it. The smell is phenomenal! I am not sure if the shrub is invasive, I did notice fruit on it but didnt see any birds eating it.
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Stone City, Iowa
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Russian Olives as a nectar/pollen source

    Different plant than what I was talking about. The one I was mentioning blooms in early Spring here in Iowa. Yours sounds a little more behaved.

    JC

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Attleboro, MA
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: Russian Olives as a nectar/pollen source

    The way everyone is talking about this Russian Olive reminds me of the Japanese Knotweed around here -- very invasive stuff. But I did notice the flowers were covered with honeybee's last year; I guess it's the only good thing about the stuff.
    Zone 7A - Southern, MA. Elevation 138 ft.
    4 hives: 1 Carniolan/Italian Hybrid, 2 Swarms from that hive and 1 Russian.

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