Whether you’re an avid gardener or only starting to think about growing your very own produce in your backyard, there is one thing that you need to know – never ever plant Japanese barberry in your garden. You may not know what it is simply by reading the name, but chances are you’ve seen it before because it is one of the most widely used ornamental plants in the United States. So, why don’t you want to use it like everyone else, you ask?
Why You Don’t Want Japanese Barberry
It is quickly being recognized that the Japanese barberry plant is crowding out many native plants that coincide within Eastern U.S. Since it is such an aggressive plant, meaning it’ll spread like wildfire, Japanese Barberry has recently made its mark on the Plant Conservation Alliance’s “Least Wanted” list. That isn’t the only reason though. The plant is believed to alter soil pH levels, nitrogen levels and the biological activity which damages your entire garden while also attracting earth worms and other pests that are not native to North America. Japanese barberry plants are also favored by deer which bring black-legged ticks which are known for being the vector for Lyme disease.
Dangers of Deer Ticks
The black-legged ticks found on deer are one of the more serious problems that come with these plants. A study done by the University of Connecticut, as well as the Connecticut Agriculture and Experiment Station found that forests that have been infested with Japanese barberry plants had 12 times more deer ticks than forests that didn’t have any of this plant. It was estimated that this comes out to approximately 120 of these disease-infected ticks per acre. On the brighter side, controlling this plant will cut down the tick populations by up to 80%. For anyone who has ever experienced red bullseye rash or Lyme disease, you know the importance of this.
So, what are you to do? First and foremost – don’t plant it. Secondly, if you find some Japanese barberry growing in your yard, kill it off. You will have to proceed with consistency because the plant is fairly tenacious, but keep removing the bushed by pulling them out and eventually, they should stop growing all together. Do use protective clothing when doing so to ensure that those ticks don’t get you. You can also cut them with long-handled shears if you are a tad worried. More importantly, once you have removed the bushes, plant something native to replace the area because there’s a good chance something just as invasive will move in if you don’t.
You probably had no idea that there were such malicious plants growing in the majority of backyards around the Eastern areas of the United States. Help cut down on the Japanese barberry plants by knowing the dangers, informing others and more importantly, getting rid of them.