The ornamental shrub Ottawa barberry (Berberis ottawensis) belongs to the genus Barberry (Berberis) from the Barberry family (Berberidaceae). This hybrid form, widely known and popular in our country, was obtained as a result of selection works carried out with the species Berberis thunbergii and Berberis vulgaris.
The deciduous shrub plant Ottawa barberry reaches a height of 2 m and is characterized by the presence of a few soft spikes. Leaves of obovate shape, no more than 33 mm long. Varieties with whole and serrated leaves are found.
In the autumn, the main color of the leaves, depending on varietal characteristics, can vary from yellow to crimson. Mass flowering occurs in May. Each inflorescence consists of 5-10 yellow flowers. The fruits are ovoid and red.
Ottawa barberry is represented by a few, but quite well-known varieties of domestic gardeners:
- Grade Superba ("Superba") forms a plant with a height of no more than 2.5-3 m. In summer, the foliage of this perennial ornamental shrub has a red color with a bluish tint. In the autumn, leaf staining can vary from bright orange to all shades of red. Mass flowering occurs in May. The flowers are yellow-red. Berries ripen in October.
- Grade Auricoma ("Aurikoma") forms a deciduous decorative shrub with a height of 1.8 m to 2.2 m. The foliage, regardless of the season, has a reddish tint. Flowering early. The flowers are very decorative, painted pinkish red.
- Grade "Purpurea" ("Purpurea") reaches a height of 2 m and is characterized by a very decorative appearance. Leaves are medium sized, dark purple. Flowering in early spring, very plentiful. The flowers are yellow-red.
- Grade Silver Miles ("Silver miles") is one of the most spectacular and popular representatives of barberries. It features a spreading, rather large crown with long growths. Leaves have a rich burgundy-purple color. The plant blooms with bright yellowish-red flowers in mid-May. Fruits of light reddish staining.
How to plant barberry
Berberis ottawensis is planted in several ways. When conducting spring sowing, the seed material needs to be stratified at a temperature of 1-5 ° C for 3-4 months. The standard seed depth is 2-3 cm. Their vitality is 90%. Germination rate does not exceed 20%. The most common propagation is by cuttings. The average rooting percentage of summer cuttings reaches 50% or more.
The plant favorably differs in undemanding to soils on the site for planting. Berberis ottawensis is not afraid of strong gusts of wind, and is also able to tolerate drought quite easily. However, when choosing a landing site, it should be remembered that the root system is very susceptible to high humidity and does not tolerate soaking. All varieties of decorative deciduous shrubs are classified as photophilous, but grow well enough and develop in partial shade. To obtain a saturated color of purple leaves, barberry should be grown in areas with maximum illumination.
In conditions of home gardening, most often a single planting of barberry seedlings is carried out with a distance between plants of 1.5-2 m. A dense single-row hedge is performed by placing four copies per running meter. A double-row hedge is obtained by planting five plants per linear meter. The need to create a freely growing hedge involves planting plants at the rate of 2 seedlings per meter.
Decorative shrub withstands a fairly large range of indicators of soil acidity. The plant is able to grow well and fully develop on soils with a pH from acidic to neutral, but it is preferable to use areas with a neutral soil acidity level of 6-7.5 for growing barberry. The optimal planting soil should consist of equal parts of garden soil, humus and sand. Too acidic soil is recommended to be pre-invested. To this end, approximately 0.35 kg of slaked lime or 0.2 kg of wood ash is added to each plant.
The main measures for the maintenance of ornamental shrubs are watering, top dressing, crown pruning and other procedures, aimed at creating optimal conditions for the normal development and growth of the plant:
- in the spring, fertilizers are applied: 25-30 g of urea per bucket of water;
- to feed young plants, it is sufficient to apply nitrogen-containing fertilizers once every three or four years;
- after flowering and autumn, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers must be applied;
- Feeding with the Kemira Universal wagon gives a good result, which is introduced in the middle of summer at the rate of 15 g per 10 l of water;
- top dressing of an ornamental shrub with basic fertilizers should be supplemented with abundant irrigation measures;
- when watering, one should observe the measure and not allow both excessive soil moisture and overdrying of an earthen coma in near-stem circles;
- pruning involves the removal of weak, dry and thickening plant shoots;
- the first pruning is carried out in the spring and consists in shortening the shoots by ½ or a third of the total length, depending on growth;
- adult bushes should be cut a couple of times a year, in the first decade of June and in the first days of August;
- To protect against barberry aphid, barberry sawfly and flower moth, prophylactic treatment is carried out several times during the season with a 3% solution of chlorophos;
- prevention of fungal infections, including powdery mildew, rust, bacteriosis, as well as leaf spotting and wilting, is carried out in the form of processing barberry crown with solutions of colloidal sulfur or Bordeaux mixture.
Barberry can be propagated by generative and vegetative methods. Most often, propagation is performed by cuttings and layering, as well as by dividing an adult bush.
As a rule, all varieties of Ottawa barberry receive positive reviews and a consistently high appreciation of gardeners and landscape designers. The plant looks great both in solitary and in group plantings, and is also widely used to decorate rock gardens and as a ground cover decorative shrub.
Barberry Aurikoma: features of the variety
In late autumn, before severe frosts, experienced gardeners recommend mulching trunks in peat, compost or dry foliage. With the observance of agricultural technology and the right choice of varieties, decorative culture will become a real decoration of the garden for many years.