Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Multiflora Rose

You wouldn't think, from looking at the picture above, that I spent almost two hours last Sunday to reduce this spindly plant to this state. It looks so innocuous and innocent, almost weak. So to convince you I also took a picture of the debris (98% of it, anyway), that I removed from the plant during those hours.

All of these trash cans are stuffed to the gills with long, tangled, thorny rose brambles. Before I started in on it the rose bush was about 9 ft tall and about 15 ft in circumference. What's even more remarkable is that this is the second time in the last year I've done this - the first being last September when a thunderstorm pushed the bush heavily onto a neighboring butterfly bush, which in turn almost took out my neighbor's fence.

The bush is called a multiflora rose, and it is now considered invasive. (It was once recommended by the Soil Conservation Service for erosion control and animal habitat.) Based on the one in my yard, it is gorgeous, grows well in poor conditions, and smells divine when it's in bloom. It is also ridiculously aggressive, way too large, painful to trim, and impossible to kill. The Plant Conservation Alliance says this about killing it:

"Mechanical and chemical methods are currently the most widely used methods for managing multiflora rose. Frequent, repeated cutting or mowing at the rate of three to six times per growing season, for two to four years, has been shown to be effective in achieving high mortality of multiflora rose."

Are they kidding me? So I cut it 3-6 times per year for 2-4 years and then it will probably die?


  1. Aww ? I kind of feel sorry for it--

  2. wow, that is persistence! Those are life skills I should learn from the multiflora rose.

  3. Well I hope no one chops you down, Matty!

  4. Susan, I feel the same, actually. If I had a half an acre lawn I might be willing to negotiate with it. It's just too big! Fortunately there are at least half a dozen of them growing in that clearing at the end of my street. The public works guys who mow that area won't go near them, so they just keep getting bigger every year.