Berries for Fall and Winter

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The season is winding down and the plants are changing from green to different shades of red, orange and yellow. Soon, the trees and shrubs will be bare for the winter months, leaving a skeleton of what the landscape used to look like.

In order to have year-round interest, some homeowners plant evergreens to keep portions of their landscape green. Berries are another option to add splashes of color in the white winter landscape. One evergreen shrub that has bright red berries in winter is holly. In late summer or early fall, holly bushes get their berries and hang onto both the berries and the glossy dark green leaves all winter. It’s picture-perfect when the snow falls on the shrubs, reminding many people of the holiday season.

Though the thorns keep some people away from choosing barberry shrubs, there are some good attributes to them. Most popular varieties either have maroon or yellow foliage all season, and in fall it changes to orange or bright red. Small teardrop shaped berries line the twigs in late summer, and remain on the shrub through part of the winter months. Birds like to feed on the berries in winter.

Winterberry is a beautiful but underused shrub for sun or shade. When full grown, they can be as tall as 6 feet. They’re usually overlooked in spring or summer because their flowers are small and the shrub is mainly a green backdrop. However, in late summer, the red berries cluster along the branches and contrast with the yellow foliage in fall. The berries remain on through Christmas before dropping off or being eaten, but like the holly, it adds a splash of red in the otherwise white winter landscape.

Some other shrubs and trees that have berries that persist into winter include crabapple, mountain ash, serviceberry, cotoneaster and yew. Birds love to eat these in winter when food is scarce, and the evergreens provide shelter for the birds and small animals when the winter is harsh.

Stop by the garden center to take a look at what plants to add to your landscape. Fall is a great time to plant and give trees and shrubs a jump on the spring growing season! Garden center hours are 8-6, Monday through Saturday, and 10-4 on Sunday.