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Barberry Shrubs Create Haven for Ticks

Japanese barberry’s adaptable low maintenance nature has made it a fixture in many landscapes. These same characteristics allow it to invade natural spaces and crowd out native plants.  In addition, it creates the perfect habitat for disease-carrying ticks.

Deer avoid eating these distasteful spiny plants. Their seeds are spread by birds, small mammals and humans. The result is a dense thicket of barberry. The high humidity under this mass of plants creates the perfect environment for ticks. As humidity drops, ticks retreat to the soil.  A thicket of barberries allows the ticks to remain active for nearly 24 hours each day.

Removing invasive barberries is good for the environment and our health. Always dress appropriately and check for ticks when removing invasive plants or enjoying the outdoors.

A bit more information: Barberries grow in sun and shade, tolerate drought and are highly adaptable. They have left our landscapes and can be found growing in open fields, wooded areas, wetlands and disturbed habitats.  It is a heavy bloomer, producing many seeds with as high as 90% germination rate.

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