Oregon Grape Care and Maintenance Guide
Oregon grape also called holly grape is a drought-resistant evergreen shrub that is native to western North America and is the state flower of Oregon, other common names for Oregon grape are mountain grape, holly-leaved barberry, Oregonholly grape, and Oregon grape holly.
This evergreen shrub can grow up to 6ft tall and 3ft wide with some reaching up to 10ft in height, the berries from this plant attract birds and wildlife. The leaves of Oregon grape are beautiful dark green holly-shaped leaves that turn bronze during autumn. This garden beauty also produces bell-like flowers that are small and yellow.
The Latin name for this plant species is Mahonia aquifolium, there are 6 species of Oregon grape that belong to the Berberidaceae family. What has also been said about the Oregon grape is that” the root and root-like stem (rhizome) are used to make medicine to cleanse the bowels, for gastroesophageal reflux disease, to treat infections, for upset stomach, for stomach ulcers, and as a bitter tonic”.For more on how to grow and care for Oregon grape along with proper placement in your landscape and gardens continue reading.
The planting location
Oregon grape can thrive in full sunlight but grows best in partial shade because the full sun will cause the leaves to scorch.
The soil type
Oregon grape can grow in a wide range of soil but prefers a soil that’s well-drained slightly acidic but rich in humus. Planting in alkaline soil may cause chlorosis.
When watering the soil should be evenly moist.
Once a year in late fall is the ideal time to fertilize your Oregon grape, granular fertilizers can be worked in the soil around the plant at 2 lbs 100 per square ft in the plant bed.
Garden insect pests of Oregon grape
Oregon grape has its share of garden insect pests so keep a watch for them and treat as followed.
These insects cause damage by piercing plants and sucking their fluids which leads to discolored and curled foliage (leaves) followed by leaf drop. The secretion or excrement of these insects is a sticky sweet substance known as honeydew.
Black molds formed on the leaves because of honeydew causing the leaves to take on a dusty dirty appearance distracting from the plant’s beauty. The use of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil will offer help. Before applying insecticides read and follow the manufacturer’s label for the best results.
Barberry loppers are dark gray white striped caterpillars of small moths, grayish-brown that is the host insect of the Oregon grape. During the spring months, adult insects emerge from the soil and begin to mate.
The eggs are then deposited on the Oregon grape leaves, 4 days later the egg hatches and the larva begins feeding at night time. As the feeding persist leaf skeletons take place within 2 days’ time, the larva then falls to the soil surface where they pupate.
To bring control prune heavily infested leaves or spray with Bacillus thurengiesis before applying read and follow the manufacture’s label for best results.
Diseases of Oregon grape
Mahonia rust is an infection that is influenced by fungi, weathers that are cool and dump during the early spring months is responsible for this infection. Signs of this disease show up as reddish spots on the upper leaf surface.
If this disease is allowed to persist will cause brown pustules to appear on the undersides of mature leaves. Tiny holes also appear on the leaves, in server or more extreme cases the leaves will distort dropping prematurely.
Avoid overhead irrigation, water at ground or soil level, all infected leaves should also be removed from the plant and as well as leaves that have fallen to the soil surface.
Pruning Oregon grape
Prune Oregon grape in the spring once flower bloom is over, although this garden beauty may not need much trimming cutting all the way at ground level will produce a healthy plant with much foliage and flower bloom.
If you decide to selective prune, look for disease, damage, and dead growth. Parts of the plant that’s overgrown can be cut back to control growth for the Oregon grape to maintain its natural form.
Where to install Oregon grape
Because Oregon grape grows anywhere from 3-8 ft tall install in these areas
1. Can be installed as a backdrop in a garden plant bed.
2. Oregon grape can be installed alongside a wall or fenced area.
3. Plant alongside a garden pathway.
4. Install on either side of the main door entrance.
5. Can be used as a specimen plant.
6. Place along a driveway, keep nicely groomed.
Some fun facts about Oregon grape
- The fruits of the Oregon grape is used to make jelly
- The berries are to make a refreshing drink
- Birds and other wildlife are attracted by the berries
- The berries of the Oregon grape can be harvested throughout most of the year
- When shredded and boiled the bark or Oregon’s state flower is said to produce a yellow dye that is brilliant
- The Oregon state plant is self-fertile
- The leaves of the Oregon grape is leathery and stiff
- Oregon grape is said to cure certain skin conditions
The final word on Oregon plant care
The use of the Oregon grape will brighten your garden and landscape area with its tiny yellow flower bloom, these garden beauties are amazing and will go to work for you. By installing the Oregon grape in your home garden you get the best of both worlds, a plant that is drought-resistant, and fruits that are edible along with attracting wildlife. Give Oregon grape a try and see why so many homeowners are making them a part of their landscape and garden.