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Controlling multiflora rose weed in pastures

Article courtesy of the UT Extension Office
Article Source: Dwight D. Lingenfelter, Assistant Ext.Agronomist, and William S. Curran, Professor of Weed Science, Penn State University Extension

The weed multiflora rose is an increasing problem in pastures and noncropland.  It thrives on idle land, fencerows, and minimally maintained, hilly pastures.  Originally introduced from Asia and promoted as a “living fence” to control erosion and provide food and cover for wildlife, multiflora rose quickly spread and is considered a noxious weed.

Once multiflora rose is introduced, its aggressive growth can rapidly overtake desirable land, forming a dense, thorny thicket within a few years.  Although the weed spreads mainly through seed dispersal by birds and other animals, it also spreads by layering.  Layering occurs when the tip of the cane, or woody stem, touches the ground, forms a shallow root system, and generates a new shoot.

Multiflora rose blooms during late May or June, producing up to several hundred white or pinkish flowers in clusters throughout the bush.  Each flower yields a small, round fruit (hip) that changes from green to bright red upon maturity and contains seeds that can remain viable in soil for 10 to 20 years.

Although it is nearly impossible to keep birds and other animals from dispersing rose seeds into pastures and noncropland, it is possible to prevent multiflora rose from becoming a major problem if infestations are controlled in their early stages.  The following cultural or preventive practices will help keep multiflora rose from becoming established, while optimizing pasture production.

• Follow soil test recommendations for lime and fertilizer.

•Plant pasture species adapted to climate, soil, field conditions, and grazing system.

•Prevent overgrazing.

•Scout pastures regularly for weeds, insects, and diseases and control them when necessary.

•Mow annually to prevent establishment of multifulora rose; however, once established it is relatively tolerant of infrequent mowings.

•Spot treat young weeds with an effective herbicide before they become well established and set seed.

•When using equipment around older rose bushes, remove rose hips and seed from equipment to avoid introducing seeds into noninfested areas.

Several herbicides are available for controlling multiflora rose in grass pastures.  The one I recommend most often is Crossbow.  It is less expensive than some of the other herbicides and does a good job on multiflora rose and brambles (blackberry briars).

Crossbow is a mixture of 2 growth regulators (2,4-D and triclopyr).  For spot treatments, use 2.5 to 4 Tablespoons per gallon of water or 1 to 1.5 gallons per 100 gallons of spray mixture.  The ideal time to spray is in early- to mid-June, during full leaf-out and also when the plant is in bloom.  Follow-up foliar or basal treatments may be necessary to achieve total plant kill.