Please help us make a decision about keeping or replacing our deciduous...

Asked August 22, 2014, 6:56 PM EDT

Please help us make a decision about keeping or replacing our deciduous barberry shrubs. We have 7 mature bushes at our entrance that are approx. 35 years old. We are concerned that they are tick attractors, but love the fact that they have been proven deer-resistant plants which is important for our location. We are reluctant to prune/trim they which makes it difficult to maintain the garden bed. Replacing them could be expensive and finding truly deer-resistant shrubs has been difficult for us unless we plant boxwoods. What is your acvise about keeping these plants vs. replacing them? If you advise to keep them, please include maintenance to lower our risk of getting tick bites. If you advise replacing, please suggest deer-resistant shrubs for a northern exposure that is part shade. Thank you.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

You will have to decide whether or not you want to replace the shrubs.
Where well established barberry displaces many native woody and herbaceous plants. We do not recommend planting barberry. Also, barberry can provide a humid environment for ticks to thrive.
Here are some suggestions to consider if you decide to replace. Look at mature height and width of the shrubs for the site.
Osmanthus heterophyllus, False holly 'Goshiki'; Abelia; Inkberry; and Itea.
Keep in mind that deer will browse new plants and you may have to use deer repellents or netting until established. Also, see our deer resistant plant list