Another Nasty Invasive: We are continually battling multiflora rose here at Boxerwood and I’ll bet you are too, maybe without even knowing it. This rose was introduced to the eastern United States in 1866 as a rootstock for ornamental roses. In the 1930’s, the U.S. Soil Conservation Service started using the rose for erosion control and as ‘living fences’ to control livestock. More recently, the plant was used on highway median strips as a crash barrier and to reduce headlight glare (this is also how we got the notorious and ever-present Autumn Olive). Multiflora rose is an aggressive (and the key word here is aggressive) large, multi-stemmed shrub with arching stems and recurved thorns. Small white or pinkish flowers bloom in May and small bright red rose hips form in late summer through winter. The tips of the canes often reach the ground and root. Here at Boxerwood, we have had multiflora rose climb thirty feet into trees. Birds spread the plentiful seed everywhere.
How to eradicate it? In fields, repeated cutting or mowing at the rate of three to six times over a period of two years seems to work. For smaller infestations, late in the season, cut the plant to the ground and paint the remaining stems with a systemic glyphosate herbicide such as Roundup.