Tackling Invasive Species at the Wolf Preserve

February 22, 2023

By Julia G. King

Conservation News

This January over 200 Autumn Olives (Elaeagnus umbellata) were removed from the Trust’s Wolf Preserve in Southold. Autumn Olives are on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s prohibited and regulated invasive plants list. Invasive species are species that are non-native to a particular area and can cause environmental or economic harm. Selling prohibited plants such as Autumn Olive within the state is illegal.

Autumn Olive was once a common plant used as an ornamental and to prevent erosion. However, it negatively impacts its environment by forming a dense layer in the landscape and displacing native plants.


By removing Autumn Olives from the Wolf Preserve we’re opening up the meadow area. The plants removed ranged from 3’ to 15’ in height. There is now more space for native plants to flourish. Native plants such as Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and Bayberry (Morella pensylvanica) are preferred food sources for wildlife. The removal of invasive species is part of the Trust’s management plan for the Wolf Preserve to provide habitat and support biodiversity.

We thank Matt Daly and his team at MGD Horticultural Services for their excellent work to remove the Autumn Olive. Matt Daly said, “The Wolf Preserve looks and feels far better without them.”

Interested in learning more? Contact Matt Swain, Director of Stewardship and GIS.

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