Answer: Barberries are deciduous shrubs and do lose their leaves every winter. They leaf out fairly early in the spring, however, certainly well before the lilacs bloom, so it may or may not be dead. If the pot was left above ground, and it the plant went into the cold weather with dry soil, I would expect it to be dead. If however there is a layer of green inside the stem, it may still be alive and able to recover. If that's the case, plant it and keep the soil evenly moist but not soaking wet until the plant becomes established, or at least for the first year.
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