Fighting Multiflora Roses

Many years ago some nursery catalogs had adds for living fences. The idea was that planting multiflora roses close together would get them to grow into a thorny tangle nothing would want to go through. Such an attitude has left me fighting multiflora roses.

fighting multiflora roses means cutting through the tangle
Multiflora roses were advertised as living fences. One look at the tangled, thorny stems makes it clear why they are just that. I cut the stems off in foot long pieces and pile them out of the pathway. It takes a lot of time to clear a few feet of such a tangle.

These plants do live up to the hype. Each plant has numerous canes coming from a perennial root. Each cane is covered with sharp barbed thorns. Each cane can reach ten feet or more in length.

fighting multiflora roses means sawing down the enemy
This may look like a small tree trunk. It isn’t. Its a multiflora rose stem over an inch in diameter. It is so big, vines have started growing on it. It is so long, it reaches ten feet up into a neighboring tree. Multiflora roses are a determined invader of pastures and open fields.

The problem that leaves me fighting multiflora roses is how quickly these plants from Asia spread. They produce masses of inch across white flowers in the spring which become quarter inch across hips filled with seeds. Birds each them and drop the seeds off in other places.

The canes become a problem. They are long and need support. If a tip touches the ground, it roots and produces a new plant. If it lands in a tree, it grows up into the tree sending out branches until the tree has more rosebush than tree growing in it.

ripe persimmon
Working out in the woods is tiring. A tasty snack is always welcome. The persimmon trees had a big crop this year and i found a few within reach. Ripe persimmons are delicious.

Down at ground level the canes get thick, even develop bark. I found one over an inch in diameter and had to use a saw to cut it off. And why am I fighting multiflora roses?

Three dogs showed up in the back yard. That means there is a hole in the fence somewhere. The only way to find it is to walk the fence line.

Only I can’t walk the fence line unless I clear off the fallen branches and cut off the rosebushes growing up near the fence sending their armed canes through the fence.

tree lying on the fence
The multiflora roses and blackberries are the big problems in open areas along the fence. In the woods the trees can be a problem. Small branches are easy to cut off. Trees require a chainsaw. This one got a reprieve until I go up with the chainsaw.

There is a bright spot. I’m only fighting multiflora roses of great size where a pasture once came near the fence. Once I reach the woods, there are fewer rosebushes and more fallen branches and trees.

Maybe it isn’t such a bright spot.

There are native roses, pink and wonderfully scented, in the Ozarks. Meet them in “Exploring the Ozark Hills”.