Rugosa rose bushes

(Question)

Hello. I have very thorny rose bushes along my shore. I am at a lake north of Toronto. I think they are called rugosa. After flowering, they produce berries. We cut them about 1/3 of the way back last year and they didn’t do do well this year. Are the berries poisonous. I notice that my dog has been chewing on them. Should I be worried?

(Answer)

 

Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

Rugosa roses are carefree plants that survive in almost any situation, except boggy soil and have few, if any, of the more cultivated rose problems. The epithet ‘rugosa’ describes the wrinkled or textured surface of the leaves which turn golden to copper in the autumn adding colour to the landscape. In addition to the sweetly smelling large blossoms, when pollinated they develop large oval ‘hips’ which become a rich red and remain on the shrub often throughout the winter, however, they are a favourite treat for birds who may devour them ‘ere winter is over.

Unlike most garden roses, rugosas object to heavy pruning which your bushes seem to be experiencing. Rugosas are very hardy down to zone 3 and are sure to recover.

The “berries” or rose hips are a rich source of Vitamin C and although somewhat tart in flavour are used for rose hip jam, syrup, and tea. There is no worry in your dog eating them.

The following article will tell you more about your roses:

http://www.rose.org/rose-care-articles/the-rugged-rugosa/