Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mowing More Multiflora Roses

Shaded roses have a different growth pattern than those in the open. Lack of sunlight causes them to reach upward and the canes can move almost vine like up into the trees. This can make things difficult when you cut the roses, but they will not fall.

The more open growth habit of the shaded bushes may make them appear less menacing, but the longer canes have a habit of lashing out at you from every direction. I used the same basic forward and backward pattern that was so effective in the field. This works, but it’s tougher to ride up and over cut bushes that try to hang in the trees.

One hazard is having canes fall back over you after they are cut. There were times when I felt that I would be trapped forever with rose canes laying over my head and back.

Once cut, the long canes tend to tangle around your leg. It’s especially disastrous to have them catch your pant leg and then whip up onto your back. Once snagged, you have to stop moving instantly or suffer some long scratches.

Many of the roses had to be physically pulled from the trees. I was able to add a nice layer on top of this brush pile. Many of the bushes held red berries. It was satisfying to know that this would be the last year Multiflora Rose seeds would be produced in this place.

The presence of the roses restricted sunlight and inhibited understory growth. I left all native trees and shrubs that I found hidden among the roses. There weren’t many.

The most common native tree is the Boxelder. I’ll let all of the trees grow for a year in order to evaluate their health and distribution. I’ll probably then cut a few to allow the others to develop without debilitating competition.

It’s interesting to be able to stand in the center of this area and see into the neighboring field. Being in the thick mass of roses made it impossible to see anything nearby and used to give me a feeling of isolation. It now seems possible that natives can exist here.

The transition between the mowed zone and the field contains very few roses. I’ll go in here later and remove some of the broken and misshapen trees.

The long shadows signal the close of another work day. There are a few more roses to cut, but the rose stronghold has fallen. Now when I walk through this area I’ll feel optimism instead of despair.

Now that the roses are gone, I can see all of the dead branches hanging in the trees. I’ll probably pull those branches down and add them to the brush pile. I don’t want there to be anything left that’s going to hinder the new growth that will soon claim this clearing.

At the end of each day, I like to stand at the place I began and see the change that has occurred. My satisfaction is always short lived. What I see in this picture are roses in the background being protected by fallen trees. Now I won’t be satisfied until the fallen trees are moved and the roses cut. I wonder what job I’ll be thinking about when I stand viewing the completion of my next task.


  1. You've won your War of the Roses. :) It looks great.

  2. Woohoo! I can't stand multiflora roses, always great to see someone win a battle against them.

  3. Thanks, Lois. It may not be a complete victory, but I've shown those roses that I'm a force to be feared.

    Hi, Rebecca. I'd love to be able to take a walk in the spring and not see any Multiflora Rose blossoms. The hardest part of mowing roses is avoiding the native species that are scattered around.