Monday, January 30, 2012

Wrangling Roses

I decided to drag the material from my invasive cutting over to this brush pile.  When first constructed, the pile of cedars would have reached nearly to the top of the picture frame.  That was seven years ago.  Those cedars have since decomposed and the mass of the pile has diminished considerably.  It receives a few branches each year, but not enough to make up for the rate of decomposition.

Some Multiflora Rose bushes growing near the pile were cut earlier in the year.  Since I was going to be working in the area, I thought I might as well gather up the cut roses and add them to the pile.

I’ve got some thick leather gloves that I wear when working with roses.  It’s sometimes possible to move the entire bush by gathering the thorny canes by the base and dragging the mess to its new location.

This specimen proved to be one of the more difficult to move.  As sometimes happens with fence row roses, this bush had canes in excess of 25 feet long that had gotten tangled up in the tree.  I managed to get some of the bush on the brush pile, but the canes still trailed back to a mass left hanging from the tree.

I was fortunate to shed only a little blood while wrestling the bush down out of the tree.  Multiflora Rose canes tend to grow in a curve.  A long cane will be stretched straight out while it’s being pulled, but once free from the tree, the inherent curve causes it to whip around and encircle the person doing the pulling.  It’s no fun to be suddenly hugged by a thorny rose cane.

I finally got the bush sort of rounded up and on top of the brush pile.  Tips of canes are still waving around, so it remains a challenge to keep from being scratched.  The next task is to consolidate the coils of canes into a controlled collection.

I used the cut brush to collect the canes and force them in and down on top of the pile.  Each branch contained a few more canes until the rose bush was confined to the boundaries of the pile.

The final step was to add heavier material on top to further compress the rose.  Rose canes decompose quickly, so they’ll disappear by next fall.  I would normally climb on top of the pile at this point and push everything down further.  I skipped that step because most of the brush on top was Autumn Olive and crabapple, both of which were covered with short spear-like branches.  I had no desire to end my day with puncture wounds in my ankles and legs.


  1. They do add a nice spot of color. Glad to know you decided to spare your ankles and legs from a thorny attack:)

  2. Hi Mona. I do my best to avoid losing too much blood with my projects. I get enough accidental stabs and scratches without stepping in where I know it's not safe.