Barberry was introduced from Japan around 1875. It is commonly planted for ornamental reasons as well as for wildlife and erosion control. It easily naturalizes because its fruit is often eaten by birds, which subsequently disperse the seed. Its range in North America extends from Nova Scotia south to North Carolina, and westward to Montana.
Barberry Shrubs are a woody, deciduous, deer resistant shrub that is widely used in garden landscapes because of the attractive foliage and mildly fragrant flowers. Barberry Shrubs combine well with other deer resistant shrubs such as Nellie Stevens Holly, American Holly or American Boxwood because of their thorny stems and branches. Barberry Shrubs have slightly fragrant, yellow ornamental flowers in the spring that dangle below the stem in pretty tear-drop like fashion.
The highly attractive foliage is usually fine textured with small, oval shaped leaves. The mature barberry shrub will grow to 4’ to 5’ tall and wide and grows in a semi-spreading fashion with many stems and branches that tend to arch back gracefully towards the ground.
Barberry Bushes do best in well drained soil, full sun to part shade, and are able to tolerate drought for short times once well established. Barberry shrubs do not need a lot of maintenance, but light pruning on occasion to keep its shape is recommended.
Use Barberry Shrubs as mid to front level shrubs and to create a pleasant backdrop for other plants. With different cultivar, bright green, burgundy and variegated foliage can all be used in the homeowners landscaping plan.
Spring flowers, summer foliage, fall berries and a unique winter silhouette means that barberry shrubs can provide year-round interest for four-season landscapes. Shrubs play an important part in the landscape. This is why so many gardeners incorporate one or more types of shrub when they are planning their gardening plots.
How to Plant a Barberry: Dig a hole for the shrub. The hole should be about twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball or shrub container. Loosen soil at the sides and bottom of the hole with a shovel. Make sure that the shrub is as straight as possible and that the top of the root crown is level with the ground.
Rotate and tilt the shrub in the hole until you are satisfied with its placement. Stand back from the shrub to visually verify placement and adjust as needed. Use the original or prepared soil to fill the hole around the shrub roots. Gently tamp the soil down to remove any air pockets. Water your new shrub with 1" to 2" of water after planting. Apply 2- to 4-inches of mulch to the base of the shrub to help to retain moisture, keep the roots cool to decrease weeding time.