Forest Ecology and Management 257(2): 561-566. “Managing Japanese barberry significantly reduced humidity levels to equal that of areas without barberry, and we saw a significant decline in tick abundances up until about year 5 post-barberry treatment.”, The study tracked levels of Japanese barberry and blacklegged ticks in six locations in Connecticut. Although they are beautiful, especially in the autumn, their berries provide EMPTY nutrition for the birds that feed on them. Wear hearing protection, wear natural fibers [to avoid melted clothing], and exercise caution.”. Thunberg). However, these and other barberry species are banned on some areas. Zouhar, K. 2008. As a result, blacklegged ticks can reach higher densities in these areas. For more information, please see our University Websites Privacy Notice. (Magee and Ahles, 2007). Japanese barberry infestations are favorable habitat for ticks, as they provide a buffered microclimate that limits desiccation-induced tick mortality. Since barberry is a low, dense shrub, it creates a microclimate habitat favored by ticks, buffering extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations in comparison to relatively taller and less dense native vegetation. infected in areas with barberry than without . Ward notes that since a propane torch is so effective in getting rid of Barberry, it can be a relatively low-cost investment for homeowners who want an herbicide-free way to keep ticks away from their kids and their pets. Abundance of black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) , which is a vector for lyme disease, was greater in the presence of Japanese barberry due to its high evapotranspiration rate. Japanese barberry has denser foliage than most native species. (for C.P. Worthley says Barberry was introduced to the United States in 1875 but it wasn’t considered a problem until the 1980s, when it began to spread and take the place of native plants. Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), The Flies and Beetles That Turn Death Into Dinner, Another Tick Species’ Saliva Found to Have Antitumor Properties, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) Photo: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org. The story contains elements of surprise as well as a glimpse of the region’s agrarian past. This plant can dominate deep in the woods and along woodland edges. Japanese Barberry is Invasive Plus Ticks Love It. Controlling Japanese barberry helps stop spread of tick-borne diseases. Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) Photo: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, ... Its dense foliage creates an ideal humid environment for black-legged ticks (deer ticks) which can carry the pathogen that causes Lyme disease. Identification Habit: Japanese barberry is a spiny, deciduous shrub, with arching branches. Japanese barberry – an invasive plant which also encourages the spread of Lyme disease. … ), After about five years, barberry and tick abundance began to creep back upward; the researchers did not monitor relative humidity (RH) in the plots beyond year five, but they write that they “would speculate that areas where barberry was managed would become increasingly less hostile to I. scapularis survival over time as periods of higher RH would recover as barberry and other invasives recovered.”. ticks from dry conditions, and the spread of . “My legs are permanently scarred from the barberry thorns, and I have had Lyme disease three times as a result of the research, but it has been worth it to educate the public how a non-native invasive shrub can alter native ecosystems and can have indirect negative effects on public health,” he says. As a result, blacklegged ticks can reach higher densities in these areas. In areas with large infestations of japanese barberry, there may be a 90% increase in Lyme-disease-carrying ticks when compared to areas with native shrubs. By Therese Ciesinski, GardenSMART. Remember – controlling Japanese barberry in an area with a large deer population will not result in a return of When I was young and uninformed I purchased a pre-planned foundation planting which included a burning bush. Connecticut is one of 17 states where it adapted to local conditions with such a vengeance that it is now considered invasive. Only certain cultivars are listed as restricted noxious weeds. levels of larval tick infestation and more of the adult ticks are infected with Lyme disease. The ground cover creates a humid microclimate conducive to tick proliferation. It is most commonly reported in the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic, and in New England. In any area (lawn v. brushy areas of my property, for example) likelihood of contacting ticks varies from low to “higher”, from almost no risk in lawn (short vegetation) to significant risk in higher vegetation. Deer are often considered to be the prime source in spreading Lyme disease because they act as hosts to adult ticks; however they are not the only culprit in the forest. There was an article in EntomologyToday recently about new data which shows Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) harbors the Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes scapularis) which carries Lyme Disease.I have a good friend who suffers from the ravages of Lyme Disease, and I’ve other friends who also have been affected by this horrible disease, so I thought this would be a good story to investigate. And, although the prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection in adult ticks is twice that found in nymphs, it is estimated that nymphs are responsible for 90 percent of human disease transmission. Abundance of black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) , which is a vector for lyme disease, was greater in the presence of Japanese barberry due to its high evapotranspiration rate. Thanks. Small, yellow flowers are produced during the spring, but are not particularly noticeable since they are under the foliage. Tiny, scented, pale yellow flowers appear in spring, but they are insignificant in comparison to the foliage. I observe this when our dog goes into the brush, v. stays on the lawn. The leaf coloring continues throughout the summer season. In the 1870’s, seeds of the Japanese barberry were introduced to North America at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. By continuing without changing your cookie settings, you agree to this collection. USDA reports Japanese barberry as being hardy to a minimum temperature of -28 o F (Zone 4a), though a few isolated verified reports in northern Minnesota indicate it may occasionally be able to establish in Zone 3b as well. Most people are surprised to learn that earthworms aren’t native to New England. However, the research team led by Scott C. Williams, Ph.D., at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, recommend returning to clear Japanese barberry roughly every five years, as their study showed an eventual rebound in barberry and tick abundance in the latter years of their nine-year study. Forest Ecology and Management 257(2): 561-566. This month, we will explore the interesting connection between Japanese barberry, ticks, … A realistic goal is 90% control and returning every few years to treat plants taller than one-foot. In the 1870’s, seeds of the Japanese barberry were introduced to North America at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. Identification Habit: Japanese barberry is a spiny, deciduous shrub, with arching branches. Recent studies have documented a relationship between Japanese barberry and deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis). Tick density is correlated with that of Japanese . Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Genus Berberis. Lyme infected ticks are found in greater numbers where Japanese barberry is “not contained,” meaning, where Japanese barberry is present and not being kept from spreading. Barberry is a very dense plant due to the multitude of small twigs and branches. Japanese barberry infestations are favorable habitat for ticks, as they provide a buffered microclimate that limits desiccation-induced tick mortality. As a result, blacklegged ticks can reach higher densities in these areas. These invasive plant species are still being sold online and at garden centers. They have given numerous field workshops and dozens of other consultations where they’ve discussed strategies for control, including mechanical mowing with a drum chopper or brush saw, the use of herbicides at appropriate levels, and the use of fire. 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