Ask a Question forum: japanese barberry and tick?

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New York
byroncheung
May 14, 2018 4:02 PM CST
My wife read some articles about japanese barberry and how they shelter / attract ticks (The site doesn't let me put in links as a new member, but you can easily find those articles if you google japanese barberry and tick). Now she is concerned because our young children spend a lot time on the yard and couple of days ago our babysitter found a tick on one of our daughter's face...

In our garden we have 2 japanese barberry (not talking about huge bushes... just 2 plants) that the builder of the house has planted as ornament plants... I wonder if it make any real difference to tick population on our yard, if we're just talking about 1 or 2 isolated plants? The feeling that I'm getting from reading those articles are that they're talking about sizable big area of the plants?

She wanted to remove them just to be safe, I just want to hear some opinion from you gardening experts... thanks!.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 14, 2018 4:47 PM CST
Welcome!

The problem is not that Barberries attract ticks but that the deer eat everything but Barberries. Ticks sit at the tips of branches or grass, waving their arms; anything that brushes against them has a chance of picking them up. If the Barberries are the only thing left in the forest to sit on, then, yes, the Barberries will be infested with ticks.

I suspect all the plants in your yard have an equal chance of harbouring ticks if you aren't letting the deer eat everything else. Teach the kids to not plow through the bushes or tall grass in your yard. If you have a lawn, keep it mowed. Inspect your kids for ticks every day during tick season. Ticks hike around for awhile before digging in so shake out their clothes and give them a bath in the evening. The ticks will be under waist bands, in armpits and inner thighs and at hairlines. After ticks dig in, it takes about 36 hrs for the tick to take a "blood meal" and infect their host with Lyme Disease.
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New York
byroncheung
May 15, 2018 7:21 AM CST
thank you so much for your thoughtful reply and warm welcome!

it's good to know so i guess we don't really have to take out the perfectly good plants.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
May 15, 2018 10:48 AM CST
Yes, those perfectly good barberries can stay. Considering how prickly they are, I doubt the kids were playing in them anyway.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
May 15, 2018 10:55 AM CST
Thought some of the barberries are considered invasive.
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Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
May 18, 2018 8:33 AM CST
Barberries are spread by birds that eat the berries
In a wooded area it leafs out earlier than most native vegetation and makes thick colonies .
This holds moisture to the ground and makes a perfect place for immature ticks to survive .

More ticks more lyme disease



While we may be gardeners here we are not all "experts" and thus have differences of opinion.

While your two bushes may not harbor any ticks the spread of barberries to other areas may increase the overall population of ticks.
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: Bill
Livonia MI (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
May 18, 2018 8:57 AM CST
Daisyl that was a wonderful response to how ticks work, what role they play in the ecosystem and how they gain access to a host.
They instinctively climb onto vegetation that they perceive to be along the edge of a "game trial". As animals or game pass by, the tick latches on. The plants could be shrubs, wildflowers, grass stems, sedges and rushes.
Lyme disease is a horrible thing to contract but next to impossible to control. The best way to control ticks on your property is to clean up leaf litter and cut lawns so that come winter, the areas where ticks over winter get exposed to the low temperatures of winter. I would venture a guess to say more ticks survive mild winters versus COLD winters.
Children are the messages we send to a time we will never see.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
May 18, 2018 7:02 PM CST
gardengus gave an important added part of the equation- it is the humid underlayer below a thicket of barberry that was linked to more ticks, and more mice.
Read more here
http://www.tickencounter.org/f...
also
http://www.tickencounter.org/p...

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