A Prickly Nuisance for Ohio



In the early 1800’s, a rosebush called the multiflora rose was brought from Asia into the United States. Like some species introduced into a non-native area, the multiflora rose had a purpose to serve. Originally, it was just a pretty, if thorny, ornamental flower, but it was also used as a natural fence for fields and pastures that lasted longer and was much hardier than a metal or wooden one. It was also employed as a means to help prevent soil erosion.

Today, of course, the multiflora rose is more of a pest than a help, and it has been labeled as a particularly vicious invasive species, and in some places, a noxious weed. While it is a common plant to find over most of the United States, it is a particular nuisance in Ohio, infesting everywhere from pasturelands to forests. This plant can grow in pretty much any type of soil condition or climate with the exception of extremely wet and marshy or desert-like conditions. The multiflora rose is shrub-like in appearance with small white flowers in spring and an abundance of thorns like those of native rose bushes.

Controlling the spread of and removing multifloral roses is fairly simple. There are several common herbicides that are affective in eradicating the plant. But if you are worried about the effect of the chemicals on non-targeted plants, a simple shovel and some physical exertion will remove the roses just fine. However, in order to make sure the rose does not grow back, it is important to be sure the entire root system is removed along with the rest of the plant. If you don’t fancy being pricked with thorns, you can always wait for mites carrying the virus Rose rosette to infect the multiflora roses. This disease is a natural pest control agent for the plant. However, attempts at introducing it to specific areas have so far been ineffective, but the hope is that this virus can be developed into an effective way of controlling the spread of the multiflora rose.

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