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My Experience with Rose Rosette Disease

By gemini_sage
April 27, 2015

I moved to my current home 8 years ago, and I brought almost every plant from my garden with me, including about 50 roses. It was an exciting time, as I had lived in a wooded, shady hollow, and I was happy to give so many sun-loving plants an appropriate home. I had chosen rose varieties for shade tolerance and disease resistance, because I knew the shade and moisture would be inviting for fungal diseases. Although we experienced a terrible drought that year, the roses did respond well to the sunny, open environment, and they settled in nicely in spite of the dry growing season.

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Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
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lovemyhouse
Apr 26, 2015 7:01 PM CST
Neal, I appreciate still your generosity in sharing knowledge and advice when it came to dealing with my poor Julia Child last Fall. So far, so good on the other roses in the yard. Thumbs up
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Apr 26, 2015 8:13 PM CST
I have the occasional whim to add a rose here and there to my garden (all are grown in pots). But I am not a rose collector, just a gardener that has maybe 10 different roses throughout my yard.

Well, I was potting up a few roses today and noticed a stem on one of them that had a LOT of thorns. I thought that was weird, but didn't think anything more about it. Then I read your article, Neal. Oh dear! (BIG sigh) It appears that I have RRD on my roses. Where did it come from? Most likely from the two Knock-out Roses I have had for years. Looking at them both now, I can see the symptoms. So I will have to destroy my Cinco de Mayo (which had the odd thorny stem), both Knock-our roses, and perhaps the other 7 roses I have.

Does it typically affect roses growing in various locations in a yard?

Can the mites live for any length of time without a rose host?

And how long should I wait before adding any more roses or should I just forget about roses now that I have RRD?

Four of my roses are huge climbing roses going up two different arbors. Those 4 will be a huge loss for me if I discover that they are infected, too.

You know ... with all the diseases that plants are prone to these days ... it sure is a challenge to be a successful gardener.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Apr 27, 2015 4:05 AM CST
Thanks Debra, you're such a sweetie!

Becky, I'm so sorry, but glad now you know what you're seeing. It can effect any roses growing nearby simply because the mites are carried on wind currents, however I have several survivors that lived within 6' of an infected plants. I'm unsure what kept those safe, but suspect they were resistant to the mites.

I'm unsure how long the mites can live without a host, although I found no information indicating a garden could be infested after the host plant was removed. The main concern I read about was getting all the roots of infected plants out so that no infected sprouts show up later. Various sources also indicated that the soil the infected plant was growing in does not hold the disease, and roses can be grown there again in the future.

How long to wait before adding new roses? My aim was 1 entire growing season with no new signs of infection. I don't think you have to give up on growing roses necessarily, but you will need to find the source of infection- otherwise all your roses are still in danger. Now that you know what to look for, look at neighbors yards and any roses growing within 100 yards. It is possible the virus came to your garden from infected nursery stock- that would be the best scenario. If neighbors or nearby businesses are harboring infected plants, that can be more difficult. Informing people they have a responsibility that entails investment and labor often isn't received well. Its a good idea to have some literature to back up what you're telling them, especially if dealing with a business.

Fingers crossed that your climbers have remained healthy! Keep close watch on them, and good luck!
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Apr 27, 2015 6:08 AM CST
Neal, I read with keen interest your article. It is so informative and well put together. I am hoping that someone will find a cure for RRD soon!

Unfortunately, I too know the heartache of losing a rose to this terrible virus. Never knew the name of it, but it was given to us when we first moved into our house 36 years ago by my husband's uncle as a housewarming gift. We had to destroy it last fall. I had taken cuttings from it several years ago and have another bush across our yard and am hoping that it is not infected.



Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Apr 27, 2015 6:40 AM CST
Thanks, Vickie! I hope a cure is in the near future too.

An interesting thing I read was the RRD itself doesn't kill the plant, but it lessens the plants ability to survive the winter. That may explain the escalation in the disease around here during a period of over 10 years when our winters were particularly mild.

Another tidbit I found interesting was that the virus was found in California in the 1940s. It is thought that it didn't spread much from there because multifloras weren't planted much west of the Rocky mountains.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Kim
Beaver Falls, PA (Zone 6a)
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klc
Apr 27, 2015 8:55 AM CST
Very well written article, Neal. I only have 1 rose in my yard...a $2.99 rose from K-Mart that I planted in my yard the first Spring after we moved in 1989. I've seen no problems with it so far but with your info, I'll know what to look for in the future.

My heart breaks for those of you that have had to destroy your beauties......
I hate losing plants....I know they are "just plants" but when you nurse them along and baby them and get them to grow, bloom, and be pretty and they die....it's like losing a friend..... Crying
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Apr 27, 2015 11:50 AM CST
I have lost 50 or so roses to this disease. I am located in the middle of a 40 acre Michigan corn field.

I have had some success removing infected stems, but not much.

Usually, I just have to remove the entire plant.

To my surprise, it seems that there is very little research being done in this area. Not sure why.

I was a collector of roses for 40 years or so, but no longer.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Apr 27, 2015 12:24 PM CST
Thank you, Kim!

Frank, that is terrible. Are there a lot of multifloras in your area?
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Apr 27, 2015 8:28 PM CST
Oh! Frank - I am so sorry! I am a bit bummed about my few. So far, no trace of RRD on my climbing roses.

I decided to try to save the two I think are infected by cutting off the infected branches. I wonder if a Bayer systemic treatment would work to kill the mites. I will destroy these two plants, but I am going to try a last ditch effort to save them. One is a Kordes rose. The other is my favorite (Cinco de Mayo). Makes me sick.

I can't even imagine losing 20 - 50 rose bushes. That is enough to make me never grow roses again. What a shame!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
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chelle
Apr 28, 2015 6:36 AM CST
There are no new roses on my horizon either. Being surrounded by a state park that's teeming with multiflora rose, there's no way that I could ever control it. It's so sad to watch them go, one by one, that I'm sorely tempted to do one huge mass removal and get it over with.
My rose arbor will have to be home to other plants now. I'm thinking that since the ground beneath it is shaded, perhaps I'll try some climbing hydrangea for the clematis to grow through. Shrug!

(June 2013)
Witch's broom effect shown in the box.
Thumb of 2015-04-28/chelle/7301ad



Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Apr 28, 2015 6:44 AM CST
*Blush* I became so distressed while looking through old images that I forgot to say thanks for the article, Neal. I tip my hat to you.

Best of luck to you in your rose growing endeavors!
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Apr 28, 2015 6:57 AM CST
Chelle, that's a beautiful arbor, and so sorry about the rose that grew there. Somehow my huge Leontine Gervaise never came down with RRD, and I was extra worried about it because it would be such a massive pain to remove. Then wouldn't you know it, winter last year killed all the canes back to the ground, so I had to remove all that thorny mess anyway. It started filling the arbor again last year, but again, winter knocked it back. Again, new canes are arising from the huge, gnarly trunk. Since it is such a toss of the dice, I planted a red trumpet honeysuckle to adorn the arbor without worry, and if I see blooms on the rose again, yay! - if not, at least something is growing there. I also added an Alchemist rose in hopes it proves more cane hardy.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Apr 28, 2015 7:08 AM CST
Alchemist is the blooming rose in my picture. It's still there, but its canes have died back the last two winters. Its neighbor was the one showing the RRD symptoms. I had 5 roses growing for that long arbor, but only two remain today; Alchemist and Sally Holmes. I would say that Alchemist should be cane hardy for your area though. I hope so!
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Apr 28, 2015 8:33 AM CST
Perhaps the record breaking cold spells will leave this zone alone for a few years- one can only hope. How does Sally Holmes perform for you? She's always been a weakling here, I wonder if I've got a dud....
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Apr 28, 2015 9:54 AM CST
gemini_sage said:Thank you, Kim!

Frank, that is terrible. Are there a lot of multifloras in your area?


The Multiflora Rose is considered an aggressive weed in Michigan.

Here is a photo of one of the roses that I lost. Rosa 'William Baffin", an Explorer series hybrid from Canada.

If you look closely, you can see the infected branches.


Thumb of 2015-04-28/frankrichards16/876af3
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Apr 28, 2015 1:15 PM CST
Frank it's horrible, isn't it? That was such a lovely area, too.


Neal, she's a strong grower here in part shade. After her canes regrew last year she had enough blooms to confirm ID, but I can't recall if I got a picture of them. I didn't take a lot of full view pictures over this way last year; the weeping cherry looked dead all year, I hadn't the heart to deal with all the dead rose canes -finally got to them almost as an afterthought, took vacation time when I should have been trimming and thinning my wildscape (lol!) etc., but here's one from July 17th showing her regrowth (from the ground).
Thumb of 2015-04-28/chelle/7dfced
Oh, and she's the big green splotch growing up the center of the arbor. Sticking tongue out

Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Apr 28, 2015 1:20 PM CST
I will try to find a better picture later. I know I have one! *Blush*
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
gemini_sage
Apr 28, 2015 4:18 PM CST
Sally is hard to see in there, but what a gorgeous photo anyway! Love that entire setting! Sounds like I need to find a new home for Sally, which I've considered anyway because where she's growing I wanted white, and her blooms tend to blush as they mature. Actually, I was just considering giving her the ol' shovel prune- but will probably give her another chance. She's alive and relatively healthy after all these years after all.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Apr 28, 2015 4:50 PM CST
Heh-heh, yeah, it was a jungle in there last year...worse than usual anyway! I'm pleased that you like it.

I'd give her another chance. I don't know how she's situated there, but if they're not, perhaps she'd prefer to have her heels hidden.( *Blush* ) She's somewhat of an old fashioned gal anyway, don't ya know. Big Grin
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Apr 28, 2015 5:02 PM CST
Smiling
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'

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