Invasive barberry makes it difficult for native plants to grow and flourish

Editor’s Note: Throughout the growing season, Mike Hogan, OSU Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Franklin County, will answer gardening questions submitted by Dispatch readers. Send your questions to [email protected].

Q: I just planted some barberry bushes in my side yard and my neighbor thinks these bushes are invasive and should not be used in home landscaping. Is it correct ?

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A: Several different species of Barberry (Berberis) has been widely used as a landscape plant, especially in areas of high deer pressure, but it is invasive. These woody non-native deciduous shrubs may look pretty with their delicate flowers and red berries, but they are invasive as birds eat the seeds and spread these plants over a wide range.

These plants are shade tolerant and can quickly colonize wooded areas, making it difficult for native woodland plant species to germinate and flower. These plants also spread by underground rhizomes that grow above ground from the roots, resulting in thick, hard-to-manage stands of this plant.

Additionally, new research has shown a relationship between high tick populations and the presence of barberry in the landscape. For these reasons, barberry is not the best shrub to use as an ornamental plant in the home landscape.

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Q: My lawn has turned brown late June when it was 100 degrees and we had no rain for several weeks. Now that we’ve had several inches of rain, most areas of the lawn have turned green, but some spots are still brown. Should I fertilize or reseed the brown spots?

A: It’s always helpful to remember that lawn grasses are actually cool season plants that prefer cooler soil and air temperatures. That’s why our lawns are thick and green in the spring and fall and we see the “summer meltdown brown” in our lawns during the hottest, driest months of summer when grasses can go dormant.

If the frequent rains don’t return, try irrigating the brown areas with a lawn sprinkler to see if the increased soil moisture makes the brown spots green. If these spots remain brown, the grasses in these areas are likely dead, not just dormant.

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We do not recommend fertilizing the lawn during the hot, dry summer months as lawn grasses do not grow quickly and fertilizer applications at this time of the season could scorch the foliage and increase the potential for certain leaf diseases. on lawn grasses.

Summer is also not the ideal time to seed or reseed lawn grasses, as high temperatures and reduced soil moisture are not very favorable for young grass seedlings.

A die best time of year to sow lawn grasses is late summer and early fall, usually after Labor Day. The weather and soil moisture and temperature conditions in September and October are generally favorable for grass seed germination and root development of grass seedlings. This period is also a good time to apply fertilizer which will help lawn grasses begin to develop root reserves for the winter months.

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