Blooming Brier Taking Over Yard

Question:

I have some sort of brier (wild tea rose maybe - has small pink blooms) that is taking over the side of my house. I wouldn't mind so much, except it is overcoming my hibiscus. It is now more brier than bloom, and I'm afraid for my hibiscus.

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I've tried cutting, digging, cutting through the roots for the past 2 years and it keeps coming back. What can I do to permanently get rid of (or at least contain) this problem without hurting anything else? Would brush-kill work?

Hardiness Zone: 6b

Doodles from New Jersey

Answer:

Doodles,

First of all, you are on the right track. To see success, this tough problem requires implementing multiple strategies. Time (sometimes 2 to 3 years or more) and patience are your best allies for accomplishing this task. Don't give up!

If it's a wild rose your fighting, a brush killer will probably work. It will also injure or kill all woody plants it comes into contact with so it must be applied carefully and at the right time. I'm also going to offer you some organic solutions. Of course, in the end it is up to you to decide which (if any) of these techniques are worth trying.

Hand Removal: (It sounds as though you have tried this.) For best results, this is done when the soil is moist and plants are less than 3/8 inch in diameter. Specially designed tools are available for this for plants with larger stems. Also, keep in mind the plant's life cycle. Physical controls like this are most effective if they are done when roots are in a state of depletion, such as in the spring (after bud break) or during a severe summer drought. Any removal of the main plant will stimulate sucker growth from remaining roots. This is to be expected and will need to be dealt with for a period of years. However, if timed improperly, removal of the main plant can actually work against you by stimulating even stronger new growth.

Cutting: (I realize you tried this, too.) Large plants that cannot be pulled up by the roots can be cut off at soil level and then covered with plastic to discourage re-sprouting. Depending on how developed the plant's root system is, you may see suckers pop up in other parts of the yard.

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Flaming: This is done to new suckers using a propane torch. The idea is to knock the plants back when they are already weak by cooking tender sprouts as they emerge. It sounds horrific, but when used in combination with the above methods, it works.

Replanting: After you remove the main brier, replant a more desirable species (tree, shrub or herbaceous plant) in the space. As long as you keep on top of emerging suckers, this new species should eventually out compete any remaining bits of brier.

Physical barriers: Depending on its location relative to your hibiscus, consider erecting a physical barrier (maybe as a decorative accent?) to separate the two plants and help you maintain a degree of control while tackling the brier.

Best of luck!

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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March 4, 20080 found this helpful

Sounds like wild rose. Pretty hardy stuff. I've had some luck by wrapping a chain around the base of the plant and pulling everything out. It will continue to sprout around the place for years tho.

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March 5, 20080 found this helpful

try looking around your yard or place to see if there is another one growing eles where, that may just be off off roots of a main one growing in another place and spreading to the that area. if so you can find the other one and kill that root as well, it may stop your problem.

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March 7, 20080 found this helpful

I would cut it all to the ground and then spread black plastic, cover with mulch and leave it for two years.

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