Friday, August 31, 2012

Letter from Dianne - Rose Rosette Disease

Hi Suzanne,

Are you familiar with "Rose Rosette Disease?" I have decided this is what my roses have. It started with the Knockouts last year. I noticed what appeared to be reddish new growth and lots of buds.

Reddish new growth
The red color never matured into green leaves but stayed red and twisted with lots of distorted buds and an elongated thick stem.

Elongated stems on roses
Whenever I would see this I would prune that area away. I did not realize that I should not have used that pruning shears on other rose bushes, as I believe that is what helped to spread the disease. It has now affected all of the Knockouts and has spread to my two David Austin roses. That is the extent of the rose bushes in my yard, with the exception of a lovely 10-year-old New Dawn.

I do not see symptoms on the New Dawn, but have read that it is highly susceptible.

In the information I've read, the disease is thought to be spread by a virus and there is no known cure, but no one seems to have definite answers. It is believed to have started with the wild multiflora rose, which is an invasive plant imported from Japan. Until just recently, these were present in the lot next to our yard, so I am assuming that is where my roses contracted it.

I wonder how widespread it is in this area. I have not heard of anyone complaining of it yet, but I do not know a lot of "rose people." In other parts of the country it is a big problem.

I am not real upset over losing the roses, as I have enjoyed them for many years and am ready for a change. However, I am partial to the New Dawn and hope that it stays disease free. It is so beautiful in the spring.

New Dawn roses in spring

(Read the University of Tennessee pamphlet on Rosette Rose disease here.)

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