Multiflora Rose (Rosa Multi-flora) is an invasive rose shrub that once was considered an ornamental plant introduced for soil erosion control, but in North America is now considered an invasive species. You will often come across this plant as you are weeding appearing as a thorny single stem that may or may not have developed a tiny white flower. You may be tempted to leave and let it grow. Don’t be fooled into letting this aggressive plant have a place in your garden or landscape.
Multiflora rose can grow in large arching thickets, 25 feet tall and displace other native species. It can establish itself on roadsides, pastures, or any garden bed with sunny areas. It spreads from seeds eaten by the birds or by rooting where it’s arching stems touch the ground. One plant can produce 500,000 seeds that have the ability to germinate in the soil for up to 20 years. Yikes! As it grows, it becomes more difficult to eliminate, so removing it when you first see it appear is your best defense.
If you have already unwittingly grown an impenetrable thicket of multi-flora rose, using a brush mower or similar equipment to cut the top of the established plants is advised. Smaller areas can be removed by conventional mowing and then trying to dig up as much of the root as possible (earlier in the season is easier, before the plant gets growing more, is less painful!)
picture courtesy of Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses