Barberry bushes with branches totally void of leaves
We have 3 varieties of barberry and they were all doing amazing. Then they slowly started to fade and die and we replaced all of them. We thought that deer or rabbits were eating them, but they are totally fenced in, and neither of these are now possible. Yet, the leaves disappear and branches are bare, leaving only the thorns. We have had a very wet year and a new and horrible problem with slugs. My husband swears they are the culprit, as the slugs are eating our tomatoes and apples (both of which are surrounded by a gravel-like stone, and yet the slugs devour the apples and tomatoes. The plant originally looks almost burnt and shriveled and then the leaves are gone. Any ideas on what is causing this?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
If you recently transplanted the new barberries, they could be affected by transplant shock:
Japanese barberry can be affected by verticillium wilt, which could cause loss of leaves on specific branches and eventually kill the plant:
I am not sure whether slugs would eat barberry, but if so you would probably see the slime trail they leave behind. Here is some information on controlling slugs:
It's not transplant shock at all, and I know how to deal with slugs, and there is no trail remotely traceable as we are talking about stone and gravel that surrounds the plants. But in reading the link provided, I think it is rust!