Did you know that certain plants make ticks happy?
That landscaper favorite of builders coast-to-coast, the Japanese Barberry, is a tick's happy place.
While thorns prevent deer from turning the plant into lunch, the dense foliage creates a local microclimate perfect for incubating ticks. Small rodents find the thorny protection of the plants ideal for nesting, and they then carry tick nymphs far afield of their barberry homes. Tick nymphs are responsible for the majority of human tick-borne disease infections. Read more about this here, here, and here.
As research into this process increases, several other popular garden staples - ferns, burning bush, Amur honeysuckle, and huckleberry - also seem to promote the humid microclimate that facilitates tick growth.
This widening area of research suggests that gardeners should consider some of the health implications of their plantings in addition to aesthetics.