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Hand Sanitizer + Barberry = Sterile Barberries

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 3/26/21

I want to touch on a few topics this week including the fact that barberry are back. It didn't take the floraculture industry long to hybridize a sterile barberry that can be sold in New York State. …

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Hand Sanitizer + Barberry = Sterile Barberries

Posted

I want to touch on a few topics this week including the fact that barberry are back. It didn't take the floraculture industry long to hybridize a sterile barberry that can be sold in New York State.

Barberry were banned from the state back in 2016 and since then if you wanted one, you had to sneek it across the border in the middle of the night so no one would see you. Now all the covert operations can cease as once again this spring we will have the number one deer resistant shrub back in stock.

There will be both a red and a yellow variety available this year and they are working on orange and pink to be available in the next few years. Barberry were originally banned from New York because when birds would eat the plentiful berries in the fall and winter, and then deposit the seeds throughout the woods, barberry would pop up the following spring all over the place.

Because barberry is not a native species it was labelled as an invasive species and therefore banned by New York State, even though they were still available in all neighboring states. I guess birds do not fly between states without filing all the proper flight plan paperwork. But now the birds won't have to worry about where they make their deposits as the barberries are now all fixed.

Another topic this week is the fact that even though the weather is touching the seventy degree mark, it is only the end of March. We could easily have another two foot snowfall before the weather permanently warms up. Our supplier where we get our bareroot fruit trees hasn't even received their delivery yet from the west coast and mid-west because of all the crazy weather they have been having.

We have customers coming in everday looking for our garden center to be fully stocked only to find that we just unpacked last years holdovers on Monday and are currently cleaning our garden center so that we are ready when plants start coming in, in early April.

The snow has been gone on the south side of my house for a week already but my hyacinths haven't even broken ground yet, which means mother nature maybe planning on more cold weather in the weeks to come.

I know everyone is itching to get in the garden but don't rush it when it comes to planting or you will be doing it again after it freezes off. Now is the time for lime, fertilizer, compost and gypsum. Lime will raise the soil ph, fertilizer to add vital nutrients and compost to add natural biologics. Gypsum is a whole different mineral all together.

Gypsum does a couple of things to change soil chemistry. The first thing it does is bind with damaging soil salts until they can leach out of the soil with spring rains. This is particularly useful along driveways and roadsides to save your lawn from damaging road salts.

Second, gypsum help to turn our hard clay soil into a more loomy soil that is easier for roots to grow in. Unfortunately, out of everything I mentioned the gypsum is the one thing that is usually left out even though it is probably the most important soil amendment. One application of gypsum spread across the surface of your ground can change up to one inch of soil per year. Adding more will not increase the number of inches treated and will it act faster if roto-tilled into the soil.

The reason for this is that the change doesn't happen instantly, it occurs over the spance of twelve months. If you did an application of gypsum every year for twelve years, you would effectively have a foot of nice loamy soil for your yard, trees and shrubs.

And unlike lime, fertilizer and compost, you don't have to continue to use gypsum. Once you turn your clay soil into nice loam, your done, it won't change back if you don't keep doing it. So this spring when you are getting the lawn and garden ready, don't forget the gypsum.

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