London (change)
41 to 60 of 81 messages
06/09/2009 at 17:20
I'm interested in berberis to deter humans climbing over my fence. Do the thorns remain once the catapillars have been? And where can I buy berberies plants - I live in South East London.
09/09/2009 at 12:59
Yes Paul, the thorns remain intact, unchewed and ready for victims!! Have a look on gardening websites ( on where to purchase them or ask at a local garden centre.
14/09/2009 at 12:19
Further update Lots of activity being reported on these critters--many thanks to everyone. But they still have not returned to the hedge in East Dulwich.
21/10/2009 at 22:06
My young berberis bush has been well and truly munched as well (I'm in North Somerset). I had a couple of weeks away and out of the garden and came back to utter devastation by caterpillars - not just the berberis, but my gooseberry bush and most of my cabbages and broccoli too! (Obviously by different species). I'm with Jackie O and can't possibly use insecticides but I've learnt for next year to net my veg a bit better and to keep a close eye on the berberis and gooseberry bush for caterpillars, ready to get that umbrella out. There are enough insecticides in this world already...
09/06/2010 at 16:16
It's now June 2010 and for the second year running the sawfly pests are in the process of demolishing all berberis shrubs in the neighbourhood. Such a shame.
09/06/2010 at 16:52
I have 2 upright berberis as feature plants in my garden - planted about 10 years ago so they are about 2m high. Last year, one day they looked lovely, the next they looked dead. Closer examination revealed literally hundreds of caterpillars - far too many to pick off. So I sprayed the plants, fed, watered and nurtured them and the leaves grew back eventually. I thought it was a one-off, and have checked them regularly this year. All fine - until yesterday, when I noticed lots of bare stems. They're back! So Googled 'berberis' and 'caterpillars' and now know the dreadful truth. I live in Warwickshire.
11/06/2010 at 18:27
I remember this stuff, apparently they are still working on how long it lasts. Last time I heard they only last less than a 2 years.
19/06/2010 at 19:47
Well we are not alone. We are in Northamptonshire and for the third year in a row our 15 plant berberis hedge has been decimated by caterpillars. For the first two years we sprayed, but I wasn't happy about it (environmentally speaking). This year I tried a different tack I put up bird boxes to attract predators and the Blue Tits fledged a week before the caterpillars appeared!! I aggressively used 'MiracleGro' since the first buds appeared, followed by several intensive sessions of removing the pests by hand and drying them for the birds. Result-Bare berberis. I'm sorry to say I sprayed in desperation.
22/06/2010 at 11:07
My berberis hedge was completely decimated in 2008 and 2009. I noticed that the sawfly were back and awaited the (now) usual result. The lower leaves started to be eaten in small patches, then I noticed a number of small birds showing an interest in my hedge and the damage seems to have have been stemmed. I now have my fingers crossed that my hedge will survive the summer. xx
22/06/2010 at 11:10
My berberis hedge was completely decimated in 2008 and 2009. I noticed that the sawfly were back and awaited the (now) usual result. The lower leaves started to be eaten in small patches, then I noticed a number of small birds showing an interest in my hedge and the damage seems to have been stemmed. I now have my fingers crossed that my hedge will survive the summer. xx
30/06/2010 at 09:05
We live in West Sussex and from having a lovely berberis on Friday last week we now have some sticks!Certainly will get the umbrella and soapy water out.
01/07/2010 at 21:26
I too live in west Sussex and by lovely berberis hedge that stops our postie climbing over our front garden is now reduced to sad looking sticks, although interestingly not the bit near the house. Perhaps they are working there way from one end to the other. I think a severe haircut and some major research on pesticide free methods is due. I think I will hunt out an umbrella!
07/07/2010 at 07:59
I am having these problems with my Berberis, which has been in my garden for more than 20 years. It has been beautiful every year for as long as I can remember in that time. Last year, 2009, I noticed that my bush was stripped bare, as described by all. I decided at the end of last to cut it back totally and was going to dig it up. I did not dig it up thinking it might not be totally dead. To my horror, this year, 2010, it has almost immediately come back to life but within a very short space of time is devoid of leaves. My patio is already stained with all the droppings from either the catterpillar or the larvae. Is it recommended that I get rid of the plant, as it is in a very obvious area of my garden and looks awful. Will it ever recover. I did spray it last year but so far, have not done so this year. The trunk looks very crumbly and dead!! Will this "bug" kill everything else around it. If so, I am in trouble!! Please help.
07/07/2010 at 08:13
I posted the last comment and didn't mention where I was from. I would like some feed back on my questions, there don't appear to be any replies to other comments. Thank you in advance
13/07/2010 at 07:35
Reply to anonymous Berberis is usually a tough cookie and the bushes in East Dulwich have recovered even though they are periodically stripped in small(ish) areas where the sawflies are still active. The only thing I can suggest is vigilance, knocking the caterpillars off and destroying them when you see them. The good news is that the caterpillars are not known to attack any other garden plants.
18/07/2010 at 14:22
Half of my Berberis hedge (Greater Manchester) was looking a bit peeky first thing yesterday. I pondered on shortage of water, lawn weedkiller drift, that kind of thing, then looked up 'leaf drop' and came across this page. I clouted a couple of bushes and about 30-50 caterpillars fell off. By tea time the unaffected half of the hedge was showing the strain. So, today I sprayed thiacloprid (Provado Ultimate Bug Killer, B&Q) which should control it according to ; let's see. It's the first time I've had to spray for anything in at least five years.
18/07/2010 at 17:45
We noticed our Berberis looking slightly ill a couple of days ago, we normally have a fantastic thick bush all summer, just popped out to further investigate and omg....loads of flies and catterpillars!!! The web is a brill thing to be able to identify the prob within minutes, sawflies, had the bush for years and this is first time its been attacked! We live in Gloucestershire.
02/08/2010 at 19:29
I have noticed my berberis hedge around my front garden looking bare, although it usually holds out really well during dry weather. I clipped it yesterday and today my compost wheelie bin is covered with caterpillars and the bin full of what I know to be sawfly. I had seen a lot of flying insects in the garden but did not realise the damage they were doing inside the hedge.
23/08/2010 at 10:24
Planted a Berberis hedge last summer and three weeks ago noticed that the leaves and been eaten by sawfly caterpillers. They are easy to knock off, just placed a cardboard box under the bush and give it a shake, killed the rest off with a spay. I live in Bristol
24/08/2010 at 15:09
I live in Leicstershire and the year my 28 year old berberis front hedge has been devoured and i'm not happy as it was my late husbands pride and joy. Have read all advise above and will try it all....heres hoping.
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