The Q&A Archives: Could my carpet roses have rose rosette?

Question: Is it possible my carpet roses could have rose rosette? I have been to my local nursery with a branch and they told me to use a systemic pesticide, which I did. The problem did not go away and is spreading to my other rose plants. Other than a few days of deep freeze out temps. have been in the 40-50's range here in Chicago. The roses are actually still mostly intact. I think I should dig them up now and throw them away. There are 6 plants. Behind them are 2 girls and 1 boy holly. Can this disease spread to them? Any advise? Thank you so much.

Answer: Certainly it's possible, but it would be unusual for your carpet roses to have rose rosette. If you've found a flush of too-vigorous, very thorny, curled and crinkly red foliage coming up in a cultivated rose, it could be rose rosette. It looks like a witch's broom of burgundy-red growth that shoots up suddenly on one side of the plant. Not every case looks like that. The way the disease manifests itself depends on the variety of rose. Sometimes there's no flush of red stems and curled foliage but instead simply a lot of unusually soft thorns on a new cane; the thorns may stiffen in time. A cane may be thicker than the cane it springs out of. Or, the flowers may be distorted or discolored. Petals may be mottled instead of a solid color.

If you are absolutely certain your plants have the disease, you may want to remove them. This deadly virus doesn't respond to treatment; dig out the affected plants, roots and all, to save other roses in the garden. (It won't affect your hollies.)It's been said that if the disease is caught early, and the strange growth is cut completely out of the rose, there's a 50-50 chance that the rose can recover. But a lot of gardeners don't want to take the chance of risking their other roses and would rather get rid of it.

The disease is spread by the eriophyid mite, which usually picks up the innoculum from a multiflora rose. If you dig out all the old roots from the diseased plant, you should be able to plant roses in the same bed again.

Hope this information is helpful!

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