The morning of our first Japanese Barberry Dumpster Day began with rain and an empty dumpster. However, at the closing of this event, the sun was shining and the 30-yard roll-off was teeming with barberry plants.
Japanese barberry is a highly invasive ornamental plant species that is still sold in nurseries and used by landscapers. Extremely hardy and lacking any predators, it quickly spreads into nearby natural areas -outcompeting native plants such as spring ephemerals and tree seedlings. Additionally, it is found to
harbor black-legged ticks which may carry Lyme Disease, making this plant both an ecological and public health threat.
Encouraging the removal of barberry from landscapes seemed to make perfect sense and thus, Dumpster Day was created. Landowners were encouraged to remove barberry plants, bring them to ISN, and in exchange, they received a $5.00 coupon for a non-invasive alternative - up to $50.00. Select participants from the Go Beyond Beauty program are accepting these coupons.
Community members from Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee counties brought barberry plants of all sizes. Some happily threw a single, young seedling over the side of the dumpster while others arrived hauling monstrous plants on trailers. By the end of the day, we had collected more than 100 plants - that's thousands of potential seeds that have been prevented from spreading into our critical natural areas!
Thank you to everyone who participated in this exciting event. Stay tuned as we hope to schedule at least one more Dumpster Day this summer.
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