zombie roses

run_with_scissorsMay 9, 2013

Hello everyone. My name is Karol. I'm a rosarian - aka hopeless optimist for growing roses in Michigan.

I've been living with RRD in my garden for a couple of years now. It came on the east wind and decided to stay awhile. I have to admit that discovering RRD in your garden is like a punch to the gut. I'm responsible for the well-being of 120+ heirloom roses and I take that very seriously. (yep, I'm a little insane)

But it occurred to me that looking for RRD in my garden is a lot like living in the midst of a zombie attack. Every rose is suspect. Every new growth is analyzed: is it abberant or exuberant? Should I strike it down now or wait? Anyone else watch "Sean of the Dead"? Ya really don't want to kill your best friend until it's painfully obvious it's a zombie. Big stress.

For what it's worth, the few roses that I've dug out to at least 6" below ground have come back without zombie symptoms (I grow strictly own-root roses). But every spring, I feel like I'm on zombie watch. Right now I'm keeping a close eye on my beloved Contance Spry (12' x 12' in Michigan!). I'd hate to lose her but it's a tough-love garden I'm running.

I'm posting this mainly to vent, but I do have a question: are the people responsible for releasing RRD into our world aware of what they've done? I realize it was to eradicate dog rose or wild rose (invading crop fields, etc.) but it must have been wimpy science to think RRD would limit itself to wild, not cultivated, roses.

Sigh. That's all. Thanks for listening.

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mountainrose(z7 Georgia)

I feel like I hold my breath every morning when I go out to see the garden. :(

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Not that ANY of these issues compares to RRD, but many of us hold our breath when we go out to the roses every day. Is there a new gopher attacking the ONE rose which has spoken to me most recently? Have the blamed moles sufficiently disturbed the main seed parent I've been working so all of my pollinations on it are doomed to fail? Have the awful rabbits, rats and squirrels stripped that poor Verdun I've been nursing and keeping covered...AGAIN?! Has something unidentified made its way into the seed boxes to eat the first flower buds? If it isn't RRD, it's going to be some critter turning your babies into their own, private smorgasbord; some lunatic helping themselves to your flowers AND plants. It's ALWAYS something! I'm sorry for your stress, but many of us share it, if for different reasons. Kim

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 2:58AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I had RRD very bad on my Ballerina, which was one of my favorite roses. I cut it down and dug up what I could. But this spring, it started coming back up. So far, So good. But I am being very careful with it.

And yes, this spring especially with the delayed spring and cold and wet, I had red growth on most of my roses for a long time. I was getting nervous, but then I realized that it would be extremely unlikely that all my roses would have RRD at the same time.

Like Kim says, it's always something. I just had to cut down my Reve d'Or and Veilchenblau because the storms we had last week blew them off the arbor and I couldn't get them back up. And they were both covered with hundreds of blooms. Oh well, that's the life of a gardener.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 6:29AM
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catsrose(VA 6)

What a relief to discover I'm not the only one who wakes with trepidation. Misery does love company. RRD, deer and blackspot are my biggest foes, but at least the roses recover from the latter. My cats have the moles, voles, bunnies, and chipmunks under control. But every stroll the garden is accompanied by angst. Yesterday I found my little Hermosa succumbed to the late snow. It had been struggling and I'd been hoping. And now there is a canker looking spot on Jaune Deprez...I get too attached, I take it too personally.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 7:53AM
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Buford, how heartbreaking. I go out holding my breath to see the latest damage done by the armadillos. My trapping attempt was unsuccessful. I am so thankful we don't have RRD--yet. We have no wild roses here, not a huge amount of roses of any kind for that matter, so maybe it will never reach here.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:48AM
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Susanne27(5a Ontario Canada)

This subject is a good reality check that there is no perfection in nature. Mother nature is in charge and I can accept the challenges. What does annoy me though is the man made problems. A what point will governments get it that introducing a species does more damage than good.
Most of the harmful insects we have here were brought in to control something else and then have continued on to destroy the habitat. I know that because of globalization insects and animals also get accidentally brought in in containers.

Anyway that's my rant for the day.

Run with scissors, I enjoy your sense of humour and kudos to you for preserving those precious antique roses against all odds and helping to preserve our past.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:08AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

The comparison to zombie apocalypse movies is really apt.

I've had a terrible time with it the past two years. Just this morning I discovered a huge infected multiflora in the woods nearby, so maybe getting rid of that will help.

I also found apparently healthy growth on my latest rescue attempt, where I dug the plant, carved off one cane with a piece of crown and associated roots, and replanted that bare root. I have not had good success by just removing one cane at the base. The rose I am talking about had already relapsed after I had removed one symptomatic cane.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Terry Crawford

This is what I live with also....holding my breath every day and panicking every time I see an anomaly or weird growth pattern on the roses. I almost feel paranoid at times....and over-diagnosing and worrying who will fall victim next.

My roses were hit hard last year and I took out so many mature climbers and HTs that I wondered at times if I was foolish to even grow roses. Two years ago I SP'd 'Tina Turner' and 'Gertrude Jekyll', but since they were own-root, I missed pieces of the roots and they have regrown and symptoms have not returned yet. I am hopeful but cautious.

This devastating disease has been the catalyst for the removal of a whole western rose garden, which is now home to dwarf conifers, heaths, and heathers. To replant roses in that section would be to ensure a death sentence for innocent roses.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 2:14PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

It may not be the soil as much as the location of the beds. They may be in a prime spot for the mites to land. Just like my Reve d'Or was in a prime spot to be damaged by the wind.

I do like the name Zombie Roses though.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 2:20PM
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