ihavezippers
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Beautiful bushes I saw in China

Please identify these bushes for me (both the light green and red). I would like to replicate this color contrast in my backyard. Do you think this would be difficult to do (both in raising the bushes and replicating the beauty)? This picture was taken in a residential community which doesn't have a particularly large staff, and certainly no one as a full time gardener, but I don't know much about gardening---maybe its incredibly difficult to achieve this.

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ihavezippers
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Hmm, that did not work, and I'm not seeing any way to upload a picture directly. I have uploaded 2 pictures of these bushes to my Shutterfly account which you can view here. I guess these pictures really show 3 different bush types---2 shades of green bushes, and the red/purplish bushes. Please help me identify each of these. Thanks for your assistance.

https://ihavezippers.shutterfly.com/pictures/68

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rainbowgardener
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At photobucket which I use, when you paste the IMG code they give you in here, the photo shows here. But I tried it in several different forms with the IMG code at the bottom of your shutterfly pics and couldn't get the pics to show up here, sorry.
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bullthistle
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Distance is tough to determine but the red could be Chinese Witchhazel since it looks like it is sheared. People need to see leaf structure to make a determination.

WildcatNurseryman
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The red one looks an awful lot like Barberry to me. The green ?. Barberry are not hard to sheer into this shape and come in several colors including red, yellow, green and copper. It shouldn't be difficult to replicate this scene as the plant also comes in different ultimate sizes from 6' down to 12-18". Only draw-back is the "barb" in the name. I try not to touch them if I can keep from it.

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rainbowgardener
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Japanese barberry which is the one commonly sold is an invasive exotic species.

It is currently found to be invasively present in 43 protected forest sites in New York State. Connecticut has declared Berberis thunbergii to be "probably one of the most destructive invasive plants in CT."
https://www.columbia.edu/itc/cerc/danoff-burg/invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/Berberis_thunbergii.htm

ECOLOGICAL THREAT: Japanese barberry forms dense stands in natural habitats including canopy forests, open woodlands, wetlands, pastures, and meadows and alters soil pH, nitrogen levels, and biological activity in the soil. Once established, barberry displaces native plants and reduces wildlife habitat and forage. White-tailed deer apparently avoid browsing barberry, preferring to feed on native plants, giving barberry a competitive advantage. In New Jersey, Japanese barberry has been found to raise soil pH (i.e., make it more basic) and reduce the depth of the litter layer in forests.

DISTRIBUTION IN THE UNITED STATES: Japanese barberry has been reported to be invasive in twenty states (CT, DE, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV) and the District of Columbia.

https://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/invasivetutorial/japanese_euro_barberry.htm
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rainbowgardener
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You didn't say where you are located, but if you want the color contrast you were describing with American native shrubs, possibilities include red wing viburnum, some varieties of smoke tree, purple nine bark, black elderberry.
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rainbowgardener
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I hate it when it won't let me edit!! Another possibility for color contrast shrub is weigela. It is not a native, but is not invasive and is frequently suggested as an alternative. It comes in several varieties that have deep wine colored leaves and beautiful pink flowers.
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WildcatNurseryman
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Not all cultivars of Japanese Barberry produce enough viable seed to be considered invasive. Generally speaking if a Barberry was going to be sheered repeatedly to achieve the form from the picture one would be lucky to ever see a bloom or berry(seed).

cynthia_h
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WildcatNurseryman wrote:Not all cultivars of Japanese Barberry produce enough viable seed to be considered invasive. Generally speaking if a Barberry was going to be sheered repeatedly to achieve the form from the picture one would be lucky to ever see a bloom or berry(seed).
[bold added]

It has generally been the viewpoint of this forum that we do not encourage members to plant anything considered invasive, regardless of how the member intends to cultivate the plant.

Plants may outlive the original planter by decades, and the plants' descendants may live in perpetuity. This is why states and responsible gardeners do *not* propagate, plant, or encourage others to plant invasive species.

Several suggestions of non-invasive plants with similar coloring to the Japanese barberry have been provided, assuming (of course) that the Japanese barberry is the plant you originally saw in China. Maybe one of these alternate plants will serve your purpose?

Cynthia H.
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