Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Demise of the Roses

When Jack and I moved into our house in 2011, there was a single rose on the property, a pink floribunda. I like roses, especially fragrant ones, so I found a sunny spot and made a rose bed. Sadly, most of our roses have succumbed to rose rosette disease--all, that is, except the one type I thought would. My knockout roses are still doing fine. So far.

The type I hated most to lose were the Drift roses. This is a small rose, short and bushy. It comes in a variety of unusual attractive colors, and it blooms continually from early spring until frost. Last fall I saw some early indication of rose rosette disease in the Drifts. This spring, I cut them back hard and hoped for the best. But they leafed out looking weak and then this week I saw the unmistakable thorny witches broom caused by the rose rosette virus.

Rose rosette on Drift rose

Here's a closer look at the "witches' broom."  Notice the many, small thorns growing from the bright red, deformed shoot.

Over the past two years, one by one, I've removed infected roses from the bed. I knew that it was very likely that all the roses would become infected but I decided to remove bushes as I saw evidence of infection. Tomorrow, I'm removing a border of coral Drift roses from the rosebed I created.  Alas, after the Drifts go, Mr. Lincoln, a deep red, very fragrant hybrid tea rose, will be the sole survivor in the rose bed.

We have two other Drift roses on the property that still look healthy and the pink floribunda that we inherited is hanging in there. Sadly, I've decided that maybe roses are not for my garden. . . .

Here is an article with more information on rose rosette.

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