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The leaves on my deciduous berberis have been completely eaten by an unknown pest. This may or may not have been caused by the berberis sawfly. Now that this shrub has been totally defoliated would it be advisable to prune it back to hopefully rejuvenate it for next year? All comments welcome! 



  • Wasn't the bug that eats burberis on gardeners world this week.
  • Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I think my berberis is thunbergii and the sawfly was featured on Gardner's World. I usually prune it but not until later on in the season.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,866

    why prune it back ? why not just plant it where it has enough room to grow?


  • My berberis is in a raised bed. After a few years of no pruning it became straggly and out of control. I gave it a really good cut back about six years ago and have continued to prune it annually to keep it in check. It had a lovely show of flowers in spring but just looks sad now. 

  • Valid comment, Pansyface. Unfortunately in a small garden like mine a specimen berberis plant needs to be restrained and this in turn produces a more dense plant. 

  • my berberis has been eaten and covered in, what I presume is, powdery mildew. It isn’t crowded - has anybody got any ideas what to do? 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,851
    Dry - possibly some mildew because of that. It looks like it's had some vine weevil damage. It's unlikely to cause any real damage though - it's unsightly more than anything. If you want, and you have weevil damage elsewhere in your garden, you can use Nematodes to help deal with them, or you can use a chemical which is also readily available. The other alternative is having to spend hours hunting them down and dispatching them. 

    You can cut it back a bit and give it some really heavy, consistent watering over the next week or two. It'll pick up again, and by the time you have more regular rainfall in autumn/winter, it should be fine. If you remove any damaged or dead foliage from round about it, and add some compost as a mulch, that will help too. 
    Should certainly be ok for next year.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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