Pennsylvania bans invasive Japanese barberry shrub

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) – A new shrub has been added to a list of noxious weeds in Pennsylvania, which includes plants that cannot be legally sold or grown in the state.

the Japanese barberry, Where Berberis thunbergii, is a popular non-native ornamental shrub with dense, thorny thickets that suffocate plants and disrupt native ecosystems, according to the PA Department of Agriculture. It is also home to blacklegged ticks that spread Lyme disease.

The application of the ban will be staggered over two years to give nurseries time to eliminate it from their stock, find non-harmful alternatives and develop sterile seedless varieties that pose less of a threat to the environment and agriculture, the department added.

In addition, landowners are encouraged to remove the shrub from their land.

“There are many seemingly attractive plants that can actually harm our environment, our food supply and our health,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Pennsylvania does not take the ban on the sale of a plant lightly. Prevention is the best alternative – choosing native plants that harbor pollinators and support a healthy, natural ecosystem. Carefully considering the potential impact of what we plant can prevent lasting damage that is difficult, expensive, or impossible to repair. “

It is reported that Japanese barberry was brought to the United States from Japan and East Asia in the 1800s for planting as an ornamental. Now it is commonly used as a landscaping shrub due to its fall coloring and resistance to deer.

However, in recent years, authorities have discovered it to be a “prolific invader that can easily spread in woods, pastures, fields and natural areas.”

The Ministry of Agriculture has determined the schedule for the rollout of the two-year ban as follows:

  • November 2021 – Nurseries and landscaping companies will receive a notice from the department, advising them to immediately start adjusting Japanese barberry propagation, control and planting to reduce inventory.
  • Fall 2022 – The ministry will send warning letters to any plant merchant still selling Japanese barberry, providing a date in fall 2023, after which the remaining inventory will be subject to a destruction order.
  • Fall 2023 – The ministry will issue sale and destruction orders to plant dealers selling or distributing Japanese barberry.

On October 8, the ministry also added two more plants to the list of noxious weeds: garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, and Japanese stilts, Microstegium vimineum. The department said these plants are not typically sold at nurseries, but are invasive and common throughout Pennsylvania. Any landowner with them on their property is encouraged to remove them.

For more information on noxious, controlled and poisonous plants in Pennslyvania, visit the website website of the ministry of agriculture.

For complete information on invasive species control across the Commonwealth, visit Governor’s Council Invasive Species webpage.

Additionally, merchants with questions should contact [email protected]

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