The Q&A Archives: What is wrong with my nearly wild rose bushes?

Question: My nearly wild rose bushes have unusual sprouts with many thorns and shriveled up leaves. Do they have a disease? I have tried cutting them off which helps but is there a cure for this?

Answer: I can't really diagnose the problem with your rose without seeing it, but it sounds suspiciously like rose rosette disease. This disease is caused by a virus or viruslike pathogen. It is spread from one plant to another by eriophyid mites.

The new succulent growth appears to be the most desirable for mite feeding. Roses may be protected from the the disease with the use of insecticides to control the mites. The insecticide should be applied every seven to 10 days when tender growth is present on the canes (usually from mid-May through early September). But, roses with rose rosette disease cannot be saved. Before you do anything, though, contact your local Cooperative Extension office for positive diagnosis and control recommendations. Cook County Unit Headquarters Office, 4801 Southwick Drive Suite 100, Matteson, IL 60443 Phone: 708-481-0111.

Best wishes with your rose!

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