bwhite829
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Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:02 pm
Location: Pensacola, FL

Free barberries. Should I take them?

Hey all! Long time no talk. We are in our house now so I'm working on the landscaping. I have an opportunity to get up to 7 free barberry plants. All I have to do is dig them up. I am wondering if they are worth the trouble. A quick google search provides they are tart invasive berries that are thorny. I love tart fruit. One of my fav plum is a very tart yellow plum and i like the tart apples. I'm wondering if it'd be a good idea to dig these up or not. Description is 7 yr old plants. I am also wondering what time of year they produce? Thanks for any input.


EDIT: Also wondering about pruning...how do I need to prune these guys?

JONA878
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Hi Bwhite.... if you have plenty of room they will make a good splash of colour in the garden.
They are a member of the Berberis family and as such they carry some fierce thorns. Makes picking the berries all the more interesting.
They only need pruning every two to three years just to make sure that they have plenty of young fresh wood to give good flowerings.
Berries ripen in the late autumn and will carry on the bush well into winter if the birds allow.
In the middle east the berries are often used in rice dishes. Adds that sharp 'bite' to the dish.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

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rainbowgardener
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They are an invasive exotic, with fierce thorns, and edible but extremely acidic berries in the fall. When I had some, I had to prune them every year, because they tend to put out a few very long stems out of the main "body" of the shrub, that look messy. Pruning them is a nasty job, due to the thorns and you want to be sure to pick up every pruned stem. If one is left lying around, over time the thorns fall off them and sit in the soil and are dangerous to step on, if anyone is barefoot in the yard.

If you want edible berries, there are tons of nice native berry producers. Viburnum is one of my favorites.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

bwhite829
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Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:02 pm
Location: Pensacola, FL

I don't really have anything that ripens late in the fall right now, so I think I shall try a couple to give me some fresh fruit for that time of year. As for the thorns I have thorny citrus right now instead of thornless so I think it'll be okay. Thorns don't bother me too much. I eat lemons fresh too so i love sour/acid flavors :)

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ElizabethB
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Barberry makes an interesting landscaping plant. Try to identify the variety so you can allow enough room for mature size. I like the colorful foliage and the splash of color from the berries in the fall. I do not care for the fruit otherwise. Pruning is a pain. Plant them at the back of your bed as a colorful backdrop. Stagger your plants - mother nature does not do straight lines.

Congrats on your new home.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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rainbowgardener
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Having spent several of my vacations volunteering with the Sierra Club working on eradicating invasive foreign species from various National Parks, I really try to avoid recommending them.

Barberry is listed as invasive in at least 20 states. It is allelopathic and drives out and overtakes native species. It is a carrier of stem rust that affects wheat and other grains. I'm not sure about FL but I know many parts of the northeast like Connecticut, Pennsylvania and as far as Michigan and Maryland are battling barberry that has taken over forests and parks.

Where I am purple ninebark is a nice native shrub that would give that colorful foliage effect. I don't think it grows as far south as you are, but surely there are tons of wonderful colorful tropicals.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

bwhite829
Senior Member
Posts: 176
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:02 pm
Location: Pensacola, FL

I was mostly interested cuz its free. I'll hold off and see what kind of sales I can hit @ local nurseries and ediblelandscaping.

I want to try gooseberries and elderberries because I've heard they are good, but I haven't seen any varieties for zone 9. most of them are zone 7-8. I was told about a couple tricks for keeping fruit trees that are rated for slightly higher(9b-10) here on my zone that people have done successfully, but idk about lower zones.



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