Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension Educator
|Japanese barberry. Photo: K. Zuzek|
In January of 2015, Japanese barberry was listed as a noxious weed in Minnesota. There is a wide variety of seed production among barberries and the 26 seediest cultivars, identified by research at the University of Connecticut, are being phased out of nursery production over a three-year period. On January 1, 2018, these cultivars will become restricted noxious weeds in Minnesota and their propagation and sale will be illegal.
Minnesota noxious weeds are plants designated by the Commissioner of Agriculture to be injurious to public health, the environment, public roads, crops, livestock, or other property. Japanese barberry does harm Minnesota’s environment. The fruit are an attractive food to birds who disperse seed into native areas and allow barberry to escape from landscape plantings. Barberries establish in the undergrowth of forested areas where they alter soil characteristics and often form thickets that outcompete and displace native plants. 84 incidences of barberries in native ecosystems have been reported in Minnesota.
Photo: S. Bauer,
|Tick drag. Photo: F. Dorr,|
MN Dept. of Health
During 2016, the Minnesota Department of Health is partnering with the University of St Mary’s in Winona, MN to survey two barberry infestation sites located in Wabasha and Houston Counties. Two additional sites without barberry infestations will also be surveyed. Sampling in spring and fall will harvest adult ticks and June sampling will collect ticks in the small nymph stage. On each sampling date, a 100-meter transect will be dragged along a trail’s edge bordering either barberry or native vegetation. Ticks will be harvested and counted so that comparisons can be made between barberry-infested sites and non-infested sites. Species and sex of collected ticks will also be noted. Ticks can be preserved and sampled later for the presence of three common tick-vectored diseases: Lyme Disease, granulocytic anaplasmosis, and babesiosis.