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Ticked Off! Invasive Plants and Lyme Disease—A Surprising Connection

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Ticked Off! Invasive Plants and Lyme Disease—A Surprising Connection

June 12, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Of all the ways to protect ourselves against Lyme disease, planting “this” instead of “that” isn’t usually part of the conversation. And yet, knowing which plants attract disease-carrying ticks can make a difference.

Japanese barberry, a non-native ornamental shrub that’s popular for its deer resistance, became established on New England’s post-agricultural lands in the early 1900s. It has invaded our forests, stifling native tree and wildflower regeneration and altering soil chemistry. Extensive research has revealed there is a link between Japanese barberry infestations and blacklegged (aka “deer”) ticks and the causal agent of Lyme disease with which they are infected.

Wildlife biologist Scott C. Williams will explain how Japanese barberry is a scourge on the landscape and detrimental to the health of Connecticut’s forest and citizenry alike. Dr. Williams (Department of Forestry and Horticulture/Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station) is currently researching the best combination of treatments to reduce blacklegged tick abundances and associated disease risk in residential areas in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Sponsored by the New Canaan Land Trust and Planet New Canaan, the program will include a resource table with suggestions for better landscaping alternatives, among other tools. The lecture is free but registration is recommended through New Canaan Library:


New Canaan, CT 06840 + Google Map