Dead or Alive - transplanted Barberry bushes

tulipsmiles(6 South of Boston)September 25, 2009

I transplanted 2 Barberry bushes infront of my house, about 8 weeks ago. Yes, 8 weeks ago it was August. Yes, this was dumb. However, it was a risk I was willing to take because I was digging up the area they were in and it was either transplant or death.

I put some compost in the new hole, and planted them. I have watered them faithfully, but am not sure if they are alive! They lost almost all of their leaves, except some on the very top. They have remained green.

They don't appear to have any new leaves but they do now have some small red berries. Is this a sign of new life?

If they did infact make it, what shall I do to help them through the winter? I haven't used any protection on them in winters past, but I imagine they are weaker and might appreciate a little love...

Your guidance is welcomed and appreciated!

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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Plants in shock often lose their leaves. If you scrape the bark on some of the stems and it shows green, then they're alive. BTW, in the future, when you plant or transplant trees or shrubs, don't improve the soil in the hole.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 6:22AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

And don't overwater....barberries do not like there foilage watered when the sun is out. Also, barberries are imfamous for dropping their leaves after transplant.

August is perfectly fine for planting...cripes I've transplanted in August. People will argue what I did but I transplanted Spruce, Juniper, Spirea, Viburnum and Forsythia early August. I did pick a cooler overcast day to do so. All plants are perfectly healthy.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 9:24AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

proper water is all they need ...

the fact that some leaves were retained.. tells me.. you are on the road to success .... if you dont kill it now ....

IMHO.. it lost enough leaves.. and only retained those which its amputated roots could support... in august... yikes [but i understand.. ya gotta do.. what ya gotta do]

it has the rest of the fall to regrow roots.. and all next spring.. before the heat of next summer ...

you will be responsible for PROPER water through next fall.. then it should be all set ...

it is one of the pretty bullet proof plants.. so just keep it PROPERLY watered ....

what i really dont understand.. is why you went thru all this for a barberry... lol ... but.. to each his own... lol


ps: the berries were there all along.. you just didnt see them until all the leaves fell off ...

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 9:52AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

If it helps, I have noticed on mine that truly dead stems turn white, whereas alive stems are a darker brown/purple color. Either way, I wouldn't give up on them until spring. Even if the tops die (and they probably won't), they might push new growth from the roots.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 2:57PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I transplanted one this winter. It sat above ground for a few months before I could get into its permanent home. This spring we were sure it was dead. It grew back from the base and is almost as big as it was previously.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 2:39PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Your barberries would likely have been much better off without compost added to the new holes. Keep a close check on soil moisture both around and in the rootballs. Drainage problems are part of the reason soil amendment is usually contraindicated when planting trees and shrubs.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 3:32PM
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