Friday, November 4, 2011

Rose Control Success

I always enjoy those rare occasions when events proceed along a course as anticipated in my carefully designed plans. Twelve months ago, this scene existed only in my mind. The 2010 vista was one of massed Multiflora Rose canes and bright clusters of rose fruits. I knew that my efforts to cut and spray would result in fewer roses on this site, but I never thought it could look so rose-free after just one year.

It’s wonderful to just stand and look at this roseless site. I can now get an idea of the potential of this area for developing into a diverse native mix. There are primarily grassland and open field components expressing themselves, so I’ll probably manage in that direction. That will mean the removal of a few small trees.

The Multiflora Rose threat may have been abated, but there’s still work to be done to control some other invasive plant species. Japanese Honeysuckle has certainly taken advantage of the loss of rose competition. I’m still developing my Japanese Honeysuckle control methods. I’ve had some excellent success in spraying honeysuckle with glyphosate herbicide in late fall after most other plants have gone dormant. The problem occurs when trying to control the honeysuckle in situations where desirable plant species maintain green foliage through the winter.

Fertile leaves of the Sensitive Fern indicate a strong presence of that plant. I always enjoy seeing these ferns and wouldn’t mind a mass of them here.

In all of my searching, I only found two small living rose plants. I cut hundreds of plants from this site last year. They were so numerous and closely packed together that I couldn’t mark each individual bush. I think it’s amazing that I did such a good job of finding and spraying the sprouts this spring. I’ll mow this area again during the winter to make sure I’ve found all of the roses that need treatment. Mowing will also knock back the Japanese Honeysuckle.

There are no rose sprouts to be found in the more shaded portion of the rose control area. The vegetation isn’t yet thick enough to hide the rose plants, so I won’t mow this when I do the rest. There are more trees growing here and there seems to be a potential for some quality deciduous forest to develop. Except for the need of some minor Japanese Honeysuckle removal, this area can be left to maintain itself for a few years.

Basal rosettes of Golden Ragwort are now the most numerous species growing in the shady area. There were some small patches of the yellow flowers present this spring, but I think this will develop into a solid mass of blooms next spring. I hope I can have at least one of this winter’s projects be as successful as this rose control effort.


  1. Great job on removing the dreaded multiflora rose! :) Your post reminded me of my attack on this invasive shrub. I'm glad you were so pleasantly surprised by your success.

    We bought our house in late fall, so the first time I really got to work in the yard was over the winter. I used that time to get at the trunks of several huge multiflora rose bushes on the property. With the bare branches hanging all to one side, I had little trouble sawing them off at the base. By spring I used a pick to remove the roots from the loose spring soil. It has been about 3 or 4 years since then, and that area is pretty much still rose free. There were some scattered trees, so I am converting it to a woodland. However, I've found some multiflora roses coming up from seed in the open area that I'm converting to a meadow. I'd much rather remove them when they are this young than the monstrosities I had to tackle that first year.

    Enjoy the process and keep vigilant for those coming up from seed.

  2. Hi David. Some of those giant rose bushes are just plain scary. This was the last of my big bushes, so things should get easier from here.