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Red Berries Garden

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December 12, 2018

This time of year is always a treat as summer background plants step up and show their stuff today on Southern Gardening.

We’re not talking flowers, though there are several plants that give us late fall and early winter flowering. I’m talking about the landscape shrubs and small trees that are beginning to put on dazzling displays of berries, red berries. One of the most obvious is pyracantha, and you know this if this plant is in your landscape. This shrub is popular because of the abundance of red berries that seem to drip off the branches in heavy clusters. Sometimes the berries will seem to be on the interior branches because they are borne on the previous season’s growth. When grown near a solid wall a management method that works well is training as an espalier. Planting under windows can deter would be burglars as there are sharp thorns on almost all of the branches. No wonder the common name of pyracantha is fire thorn. Pyracantha is a close relative to apples and the fruit can make a fine applely jelly. Landscape plant success begins with preparation. Always dig the planting hole at least two times wider than the container or root ball at the same depth. Research has shown that keeping the crown of the plant an inch or two above the surface grade has resulted in greater survivability in our Mississippi landscapes. When combined with a two inch layer of mulch to conserve moisture success is almost assured.

Besides adding beauty to our landscapes, plants that produce berries also play an important role as a winter food source for wildlife as well as providing habitat for nesting. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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