Center And Lower Branches Of Red Barberry Bush Have Lost Their Leaves

Question From: New Freedom, Pennsylvania, United States
Q: Our red barberry bushes have been in the ground for 15 years and have been doing well until this summer. All of the branches in the center and at the bottom of the shrubs have lost their leaves and some of the branches are dead, leaving leaves only on the top of the shrubs. What could have caused this sudden death?

A: I don't have a crystal ball, but my guess is spider mites and/or lack of water. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy