Friday, 17 July 2015

Rosa rugosa

Rosa rugosa

Rosa rugosa, or more commonly known as Japanese rose or Rugosa rose, is a species of rose that is native to temperate and cold coastal sites in Eastern Asia, southern Siberia and Japan. It was first introduced to Europe and North America as an ornamental plant with many people liking the large colourful flowers and it can be grown as dense hedgerows. It is also used as a root stock and for breeding with other rose species due to its disease resistance and was renowned for its ability to withstand drought, heat, frost and winter hardiness as well as being able to cope exceptionally well with salinity.

R. rugosa in the sand dunes

Large area in the sand dunes
Rosa rugosa has been planted in many areas due to its hardiness and low maintenance needs. However it also causes significant problems at coastal sites as once established it grows extremely rapidly, outcompeting all native plant species and it is extremely difficult to eradicate. The dispersal of the seeds is predominantly by birds that feed on the rose hips however this species can also be spread from broken fragments of the plants rhizomes that break off when the plant has been cut and removed for disposal.

Flower before it becomes a rose hip
Stems cut and scored for pesticide treatment

Large stand of R. rugosa down by Lowsy Point cabins

At Sandscale Haws Rosa rugosa has been present on site since the 1980’s but it has spread from just a couple of small clumps to a current total of 15 stands varying in size from just 1m² up to the largest at 864m². We are currently working in conjunction with Natural England, who manage the nearby North Walney NNR to trial different techniques for removing this invasive species and restoring species rich dune grasslands. This is going to be an ongoing task as eradication of the species in a single year is impossible but hopefully the annual monitoring, treatment and removal of R. rugosa will prove effective.

Treating the cut stems of a small patch

One area that we've brushcut and burnt. Will spray with herbicide when regrowth comes back

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