Rosa Rugosa an invasive species found at Sandscale Haws

Rosa rugosa main stand

Sandscale Haws is a beautiful dune habitat, nurturing many rare native species of flora and fauna, but lurking in the dunes is one rose (Rosa rugosa) that isn't so welcome!

What is Rosa rugosa?

Rosa rugosa (Japanese Rose) is a non-native rose species that is native to the coastal areas of Eastern Asian where it is predominantly found in sand dunes, coastal vegetated shingle and free draining acid grassland.

It was probably introduced to the UK as an ornamental species and as a root stock for other rose species. It is also used widely on roundabouts and hedges, as it's a hardy and resilient species that doesn’t need a lot of care. This however has led to it spreading into other areas where it out competes native plant species as it is quick growing and forms a dense stand preventing sunlight from reaching ground level. It spreads outwards from the main stand quickly by using creeping rhizomes from which suckers will arise. This means it's a difficult species to eradicate and it requires several years of retreating the stand.

Rosa rugose in the dunes at Sandscale Haws
Rosa rugose in the dunes at Sandscale Haws

How long do you spend every year eradicating the Rosa rugosa?

In 2016 we probably spent in the region of 7 days cutting, burning and treating the stands of Japanese Rose with the help of volunteers on several of those days.

What measures are in place to keep the Rosa rugosa under control?

The key focus for this year is the monitoring of how effective last year’s treatment was. We will also be retreating areas that are starting to show regrowth by either brushcutting them or spraying with herbicide as well as searching the site to find any other patches that we have missed in the past.