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It Needed Killin’   • Southern Rural Route

Every now and then, after you have suffered trespass after trespass from a particular plant, you whip out your Southern lexicon and declare “it needs killin’”. That happened with my Cherokee Rose, Rosa laevigata, also known as the Georgia State rose. It became the Georgia State rose in 1916 at the request of the Federation of Women’s Clubs. Clearly, those poor women were just as ignorant as I when I dug it up along the roadside somewhere in Florida 20-something years ago. Being jungle-worthy, it has not limited itself to Georgia. It has naturalized in Alabama, Florida, and is probably on its way to Mississippi.  It had numerous faults I discovered over the years:

  • It bloomed only in the spring and it took most of those 20-something years before it ever put on a serious show.

It was full of blooms in 2013 and 2014
Photo taken 4/4/14 4/4/14

  • It grew wildly arching stems 6 and 8 feet long all along the fence top, just out of my reach, and it was a major aggravation to whack it back with the clippers because it had an excessive number of rip-you-asunder thorns.
  • My neighbor, Country Boy, even complained about those stems on his side of the fence. He didn’t admit it, but I’ll bet one of those stems snatched him right off his riding mower.
  • Birds flocked to it because of the red rosehips. One bird had the audacity to build a squatter’s nest among the stems that I knew nothing about until I got too close and he flew in my face. I almost fell over backwards trying to get my face out of his way.

This summer, the sheer weight of it tore two pickets off my wood fence. Granted, the fence is 19 years old and showing a little wear but none of the other fence parts are falling off so that became the last straw.

A snaggle-toothed fence is the last straw This view shows 3 pieces torn down

I went at that rose bush with a vengeance.  It took me a couple of hours over four days to chop it down. Near the ground, the main stem was at least 2 inches in diameter. I talked Poppie into chopping the roots out and it better not come back. If I gotta kill it twice then I’m throwin’ out my shovel so I don’t dig up anything else I’ll regret.