Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Deeper Look at Rose Rosette Disease

Back in May, I posted some pictures of some wild growth of my rose Tradescant that I called a Monster Rose. Through the help of others we identified that what was affecting my roses was Rose Rosette Disease or RRD.  RRD (Rose Rosette Disease) causes a form of growth that is a hyper frenzied growth that is sometimes referred to as Witches' Broom.  Since that time I have been on the look out for  RRD and found it this winter on the one rose that was at our home before we moved here.  It was growing in two spots on a plant of Blaze Improved.  Isn't Blaze Improved what people grew before Knock Out?
It is believed that RRD is transmitted from one affected plant to another through a wingless mite which chews on an RRD affected plant and then is blown by the wind to a plant that becomes affected when the mite chews on the second plant.  The most complete information of RRD is found at Ann Peck's site  http://www.rosegeek.com/ .  I encourage you to read her site to understand just how pervasive Rose Rosette Disease is becoming.  One interesting feature of the growth is that generally as a branch grows further out the growth becomes smaller.  On a RRD affected plant the growth seems to get larger and sends out more growth than can be sustained.  I have pulled off some of the leaves so you can see exactly what I am talking about.

From the Spring I had three affected plants: Tradescant, Buff Beauty, and Lavender Lassie.  I was not willing to give up on these plants and follow the advice given - to dig up and throw out the affected plants.   So I cut off all the affected areas in an attempt to save the plants.  Of the three I lost both Tradescant and Buff Beauty.  So far it looks like Lavender Lassie will be saved.  Below is a picture of the last part of Tradescant that was dug out and thrown away.  I continually cut the plant back to just find more growth the next time I went out to see the plant.
Through my experience this year, I have been on the look out and what I have seen alarms me.  I found affected roses among my mother's roses, in the Oklahoma City Will Roger's Rose Garden, and in the Tulsa Municipal Rose Garden.  I have seen it everywhere.  After my experience this past year, I have some suggestions for how you might deal with this when you find it on one of your plants. If the plant is widely affected - get rid of it.  If however, you find a small amount of RRD growth on the end of a cane - cut off the cane as far back as you can possible make yourself.  This is the best hope of saving the plant.  It is hard when you have plants that you have been waiting to get to full size but it is better than starting over with a small band.  Radical surgery sometimes is the only thing that will save a life.  One other suggestion,  when you find growth on one of your plants, as soon as you can take several cutting from unaffected portions of the plant and see if you can get a replacement plant started in case you can not save it.
I know this is not a cheery post, but I hope that you will find this information helpful should you see anything like this in your garden.  And from what I have seen, I think it is only a matter of time before we all begin to see RRD in our gardens.  The one available chemical that seems to kill the offending mite is Sevin.  Maybe you should add it to your list for Santa.

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for helping to spread the word and educate folks about RRD. The more of us there are out there who talk about this, the more people we will reach. Your photos are fabulous, and your advice is absolutely correct.

    Once you see it in person, you'll never mistake RRD for anything else. I'm now finding it in those mass plantings of Knock Out in commercial settings.

    I tell people that RRD means the death of the affected rose, but not the death of the rose GARDEN. I'm really sorry for the roses you have lost, and encouraged by the progress of Lavender Lassie. (I did the same thing last year with a rare rambler ... which I have now propagated in case the infection resurfaces.)

    Merry Christmas!

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  2. I didn't realize it was so pervasive in Oklahoma. I watch my roses carefully, and so far I've been lucky. But I understand it affects larger roses more often, I suppose because it has more surface for the mite to land on it. Therefore, I'm worried about the new catenary I am planting. I also worry that all roses/rose gardens will eventually be affected for years and decades to come. I do believe that, in the future, it will change the roses available, the roses grown, and the number of people that love roses. Hate to be pessimistic, but I think this is just the beginning of the epidemic. Good post. Knowledge is imperative.

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  3. Thanks Connie. I know others have been dealing with this for some time so I'm glad to have learned from their experience. Maybe we can do the same for some others.

    Holley, Maybe I wasn't looking before but I sure didn't notice it until it hit my garden this year and now I am seeing it many places. I don't know how much RRD is in Texas but it is certainly something to be watching out for and I hope that others will be taking notice. If it grows worse as you suggest then I think roses are in real trouble.

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  4. I have dug out 10 roses so far this year. I tried cutting the canes all the way down prior to getting rid of them but it still came back on the canes I thought were healthy. They are pretty much all in the same area. I wipe my clippers with alcohol after deadheading each bush. I was devastated about this but will not let this ruin my passion or love of roses. If I see It I'm getting rid of it immediately. Also I've been told to not plant in the same spot for 2 years. That sucks!

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  5. I'm so sorry it came to your garden too. It's all over Edmond, Oklahoma and is so bad they've removed most of the Knockouts. I've had it on four or five roses. I can't remember how many I've removed. Anyway, nice to meet you. I blog from Oklahoma too.~~Dee

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  6. Was just reading about this virus in a post by Dee Nash. Going to link back to both your articles in an article I am writing for Examiner.com. Don't forget to sanitize those pruners when cutting back the affected plants. I am so bad not to do this all the time. Linda Belcher

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  7. Are there any roses that are resistant to RRD? I just planted a Cinco de Mao rose bush and hate to think that it could get this debase.

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    1. Hello Anonymous. I have infected Cinco de Mao bushes. This rose is so beautiful and long blooming. I have an infected center bush of 3...so I will cut out this bush and observe very closely the other two bushes. I will probably wait for a year to replant the center bush
      to see how the other adjoining bushes act to RRD. Offer your prayers...Gary Coleman

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  8. It took me all of my life to finally love a rose - floribunda white! I made a beautiful flower garden of 2 of them and mixed in large white moss rose. It's in my front yard, has brick edging and red mulch. Then last week I saw weird growth and my roses are less than a year old. The leaves started looking like wispy celery tops with thick canes in the middle. If I dig them up, I have nothing else I want there. Are you sure I can't replant 2 more?

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  9. I purchased a Drift Rose bush from Landscape Systems Garden Center in Keller, Texas in February. In April I discovered it had RRD. I dug it up and took it back. They replaced it with a knockout bush. Now, I am seeing
    RRD on another bush that I have had for 15 years. It looks like I will lose my entire rose garden. I am sick about this. What is their liability for bringing this horrible disease to my home? Suggestions?

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  10. I haven't responded to this post in a while so let me cover a few things. I'm sorry for the rest of you that have lost roses as well. I have started roses from the healthy portions of affected rose bushes to get a replacement going. Since the original post I have lost Lavender Lassie, Graham Thomas, Popcorn, St. Swithun, and Ballerina in addition to Tradescant and Buff Beauty.

    I don't know of roses that are resistant but it does seem that Knockout roses and Hybrid Musk roses are especially affected. One of the things that I have learned about Rose Rosette Disease (Virus) is that the disease runs throughout the whole bush including the roots. Some believe that the affected roots can spread RRD/V to other plants. I think the two year wait is a suggestion which will let any remaining roots die and keep your new roses unaffected. Of course, you can do anything you want but if you really want to plant new roses in an area where affected roses have grown, I would dig through and sort the soil of roots and wait as long as you can.

    I think you will have trouble pinning down anyone's liability. You got the rose in Feb. and it showed symptoms of being affected in April. They could argue that it became exposed after you received it and I don't think you could dispute that. You are right it is a horrible disease and I hope you do not loose any more roses. I would spray your garden with Sevin to keep any carriers who may be in your garden from spreading it farther.

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    1. Rev, thank you for your reply. There is absolutely no doubt that this one rose addition is the cause. It showed disease first, now today a second bush shows infection. I have had my healthy rose garden for 15 years. No neighbors roses are affected. I am retired, living on a fixed income. I cannot afford to replace my losses. I have sprayed. My other roses are Jackson & Perkins from years ago.

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  11. Thank you for this post! My fifteen-year-old New Dawn started showing what looked like explosions through the bark of the thick main canes last year. The graft on this old rose is about the size of a football, to give you an idea of how truly old and large the plant is. Nothing else developed until this spring, when I noticed the characteristic weird growth on some of the twenty foot canes. So, early this spring I cut the entire plant back to the main branches. The poor thing was only three feet tall, so I thought I'd surely killed it. But no! It is sending out strong, new growth and I am pruning and training new canes. Fingers crossed!

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  12. August 1,2013 Thanks fot the information. I had never heard of the RRD until a local horticulturist had an intervew on a local TV Channel about the damage it couod do to Knockout Roses. They are my favorite plant; I have three beautiful ones but i will be checking for this disease. I read another blog that told how this disease had been in the USA since 1940. It killed multifoora rose that had become a nusiance like Kudzu. I have not deadheaded the roses becasue they are self cleaning plants but I will check frm time to time looking for signs of the disease.

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  13. we have red knockouts at our church and have RRD have been trimming and pruning but no luck, we will have to replace them all I fear.
    thanks to everyone for their info and input.
    worried

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