The Q&A Archives: Barberries

Question: I have several barberries and they all look like they need watering, yet I know I give them enough water. Am I correct in believing they do not like to be fertilized?

Answer: If your barberries are recently transplanted, it's possible they're just suffering a little stress from the move. They should rebound once they become acclimated. If the plants have been in the ground for several months, I'd suspect some adverse soil condition is causing the wilting. Heavy soils do not drain well. Constantly wet soils can drive air out of the root area, and cause wilting leaves. Over-fertilizing can burn roots and result in wilted or browning leaves, too. At this point I'd hold off on fertilizer and water deeply once each week (until seasonal rains take over the chore for you). In the spring you can prune your barberries back to remove dead stems and branches, and to encourage healthy new growth. Best wishes with your shrubs!

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