Japanese Rose

Common Name

  • Japanese rose

Latin Name

  • Rosa rugosa

What’s the problem?

  • Japanese rose is a non-native species which can quickly out compete native plants by forming dense thickets. The distribution of this species in the wild is increasing.
  • There are legal implications if you allow the spread of this species onto neighbouring land and into the wild
  • The plant is spread by seeds which are distributed by birds and mammals

Legal Implications?

  • Listed as a Schedule 9 species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • It is an offence to allow Japanese rose to spread onto adjacent land and into the wild
  • Possible fines and prison sentence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • It is not an offence to have Japanese rose on your land and you do not need to notify anyone of its presence

Soils containing Japanese rose are classified as controlled waste and should be disposed of at licensed landfill

In detail

  • This species is native to East Asia and has been grown in the UK since around the mid-19th Century, often planted in parks and gardens.
  • The species were first recorded in the wild in 1917. It has the ability to spread via seeds which are distributed by birds and mammals. The plant suckers readily forming dense thickets.
  • The plant is especially common on coastal sites where it can dominate areas


  • Japanese rose is a woody perennial shrub, it suckers readily producing new shoots from the roots.
  • Upright stems are covered in numerous straight thorns
  • Flowers are large, usually solitary and vivid purplish pink (but can vary from white to red) in colour, measuring 6-9cm across.
  • Fruits (hips) are present from late autumn, they are 2-3cm in diameter and are rounder than our native species of rose
  • The leaves are 8-15cm long and have a distinctive corrugated appearance

Control Methods


  • Cutting Japanese rose several times a year over a number of years can reduce infestations
  • Plants and root system can be excavated however it is important that all the root system is removed. Excavated material must be disposed of at licensed landfill


  • Herbicide application can effectively control infestations

When treating large areas, a suitable grass and forb mix should be sown to prevent bare ground and colonisation of other unwanted species.

If you have concerns over Japanese Rose on your land, if you are unsure of your legal responsibilities, or, if you would like a quotation for control, please contact one of our specialist surveyors. Treatment costs start from £380.00 + VAT.