Japanese barberry shrubs are a plant that can look very pretty with their silvery leaves, red berries and yellow flowers. They even grow an edible fruit, which birds and rabbits love to eat, causing the plant to naturalize and spread. Japanese barberry were imported from Japan in the late nineteenth century and were quickly adopted by American gardeners as ornamental hedges thanks to their lovely coloring, especially in the autumn. Unfortunately, Japanese barberry is currently considered an invasive weed by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The USDA recommends that no one buy, sell or plant Japanese bayberry. You shouldn't plant this shrub in your garden because it is a host of black rust, a disease that affects wheat crops. If you spread Japanese bayberry, your ornamental garden could have serious consequences for America's farmers. Japanese bayberry is also a threat to open and second growth forests. It spreads rampantly and grows thick enough to crowd out and kill native plants. It is also thorny, so this shrub can be difficult and painful to traverse through, for humans and larger animals. Japanese bayberry can even alter soil's pH and nitrogen levels as well as the biological activity of the soil.
You may find Japanese bayberry in the Northeastern United States. If you have some in your yard, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends that you eradicate it. Since it is a prolific seed producer and has a 90 percent germination rate, your top priority should be to manage seed production. These seeds are especially likely to spread since they are favored by birds and small animals, which will then distribute them all over your community. Japanese bayberry can also grow from root, so you need to make sure that you tear all of a plant's roots out as you remove it. You may be able to kill Japanese bayberry with glyphosate and triclopyr herbicides.