Advice with rose rosette

aprille(z9 CA bay area)June 9, 2014

Hi - I've not posted in ages (years) but I remember when I first started my amazing journey into roses this is where I came to for advice - I need your expertise again. We are moving to Texas - and I would like to take some of my favourite roses with me - can't imagine life without at least a rose or two (I've got about 150 right now - so sad to leave them).

The problem I am facing is I think there's a lot of rose rosette in the Dallas area where I'm moving - McKinney to be precise - I looked at about 30 houses and almost any that had rose bushes seemed to have the witches broom growth that is familiar with rose rosette - I can't be sure since we don't have it here - but my Mom who lives in McKinney has it - I diagnosed her roses years ago - the new house we just bought has two tiny rose bushes out front that look badly deceased. So does this mean I can't grow roses there? the rose rosette spread to all my Mom's roses even with her being careful to clean her pruners - she had to dig them all up - is there a way to control this or should I just forget about growing roses out there? Any advice is hugely appreciated!!!

Thank you in advance!!


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Ask whether they are using weed and feed type products or Round Up type products.

Here is a link that might be useful: My rose rosette virus info

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:47PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

You can control it by NOT leaving the infected rose in your garden. If many roses in the garden got infected, that would seem to imply that the previous owner did nothing about the first infected rose, so the mites (carriers of the infection) spread to another rose--which the owner did nothing about--so that mites spread to another rose, etc.--until many roses were infected. It would take time for lots of roses in the garden to become infected.

So, the minute you see the infection, dig up that rose (roots and all) and dispose of in a tightly sealed plastic bag. Don't diddle around trying to make up your mind--do something NOW. The longer you take to make up your mind, the more time the RRD mites have to get to another rose and infect it.

I suppose an alternate theory would be that the wild multiflora roses are so dense around there and have been out of control for so long that everything is infected and all those mites at once came over and attacked the previous owner's garden so that simultaneously lots of roses came down with RRD all at once--but that scenario doesn't strike me as very likely.

Inspect your roses regularly, looking for signs of abnormal growth. The minute you see it and determine it is RRD, properly dispose of it.

That is the best way to control it.

Yes, with proper care, you should be able to grow lots of beautiful roses. : )


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:57PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

If you have a rose garden there, you will probably lose an occasional plant. But the extent of the problem probably depends on how close the nearest infected roses are, whether there are mass plantings of KO nearby, and whether your neighbors are educable. Apparently there are not a lot of wild roses in the countryside or vacant lots of north central TX, so it's just a matter of monitoring your own and nearby yards.

I suffered a real epidemic in my garden, but I was able to locate infected multiflora roses nearby and eradicate them. I haven't had new cases for ten months. Prior to the bad time, my roses had been OK for years despite being a half mile from known infections, and probably others closer than that.

This post was edited by michaelg on Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 14:19

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:16PM
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You can't not plant something just because of what the neighbors have. Bring your roses and plant them and be vigilant. At the same time, now that you are going to be a neighbor to all those people, when you see them, you can bring up the topic. I'll bet many people don't even know about some of these kinds of diseases because all they see is that the rose continues to grow and bloom. And one year when it eventually dies, they'll just attribute it to something else, and get replacements.

An example is that I saw the hyper-thorniness on one of my rose bushes, but I didn't even know it was a problem. I just figured it was a weird aberration for that one stalk. The rest of the stalks were growing normally. The funny thing is that I gave that rose bush to someone on Craigslist because I didn't know about the virus problem at the time, and just wanted to redo the landscape. That bush happened to be one of the plants that had to go. The person was glad to get a free rose bush and he probably doesn't know about the issue either.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:24PM
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Just like Michael, I have had a time with RRD in the garden ... with 25 infections over the last two years. (sounds devastating, but you have to remember that I have nearly 700 roses) I thought I had searched out all the adjoining properties and destroyed the multiflora, but there was one that I missed. It was large and infected and nearly hidden by honeysuckle at ground level. That rose is gone now, as is all of the rest of the multiflora that I found in my searching for the past year. This spring (knock wood) I haven't had a new case of RRD show up yet.

Since you know what infected roses look like, keep vigilant with your garden, your mom's garden, and the gardens of your neighbors. Remove infected plants to limit the source of new infection in the future. If you find infected Knock Out, hound the person/company responsible for it until they remove it.

As Michael said, you may lose the occasional plant(s), but that doesn't have to lessen your enjoyment of your roses.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:50PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Hi Aprille! I can't give you any advice about growing roses in Texas but it's good to see you back!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:54PM
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aprille(z9 CA bay area)

Thank you everyone!!! I knew I could get some good advice from you :) the house we are moving into is in a brand new development (our house is just 4 years old) and there is not any landscaping in the huge back yard - an empty canvas for me!!! The problem roses are in the front yard where the only landscaping is - they looked pretty bad. I will get rid of the 4 infected plants as soon as I get access to it - I'll also check to see if it might be round up related (the lawns were pretty green) like Henry Kuska suggested. Thanks again!

Hi Seil - nice to see so many familiar names here - I've missed the forum - kids and dogs have kept me busy :)


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 6:18PM
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holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

Aprille, Welcome to Texas! I am not in the Dallas area, but live close enough to the metroplex to follow what's going on with the roses there. I just think the timing right now is not the best for rose lovers in the Dallas area. RRV has become quite a problem in Dallas over the last several years.

Word was, it was an epidemic last year. I know one woman in Dallas that had over 100 roses in her back yard and lost every one of them last year. Her neighbors lost all their roses last year, too. I went to a seminar this spring with Dr. Steve George and he said they were even battling RRV at the Earthkind Trial Garden in Farmers Branch. He also stated to be very careful to purchase your roses from reputable dealers because he had seen roses for sale that had RRV.

I could never imagine a garden without roses, but for now, I would start small and stay vigilant. I don't know if this happens, but I am hoping that RRV will reach its peak, and that the number of outbreaks will then start to fall.

I would also look around your new neighborhood and educate the neighbors that have infected roses before I planted new rose bushes. The problem is that most of the people that have just a few roses don't know anything about RRV. One woman told me she drove around several Dallas neighborhoods last year and saw bush after bush showing signs of infection, but that no one she talked to had ever heard of RRV.

Good luck. I hope the number of cases of RRV in the Dallas area begins to go down, and that you will be able to have the rose garden of your dreams without very many losses to RRV.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:00AM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

Here on LI, I had a 'Hot Cocoa' in another area of my backyard that had developed the hyperthorniness and reddened canes that is symptomatic for RRD. One side of the rose bush didn't have the hyperthorniness (it reminded me of a hedgehog's quills). I ended up removing completely the rose bush and planting something different there. I also removed a 'Double Knock Out' also last year and saw the smaller blooms and leaves on it and noticed some hyperthorniness on the lower canes vs. the upper canes. A new 'Double Knock Out' in this same spot is not showing symptoms of RRD.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 2:10PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I'm glad you are being alert, jazzmom, but just a word of caution. Do remember that hyperthorniness may or may not be a symptom of RRD. A rose can have RRD without having the hyperthorniness, and a rose can have hyperthorniness without having RRD.

It is true, however, that most (but not all) of the RRD examples I've seen were also accompanied by hyperthorniness.

I'd say really ugly witches' broom growth is perhaps more symptomatic. And kinda rubbery canes.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 6:16PM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

I was able to compare the left side of the rose bush with the right side when it came to prickle intervals on the canes and there were a lot more prickles on the right side of the bush than the interval distance on the left. I knew there was something going on and when I googled excessive thorns and red stems (not turning green as they aged) --rose rosette disease came up in the search.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 6:21PM
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Several years ago I thought I had RRD although I had never had it in my yard and have seen no signs of it in my area . I even mentioned to my DH that if I didn't know better, I would think someone had been spraying Round-up. I live way out in the country so that seemed to be impossible to me. Then we discovered my mother had been spraying Round-Up in my yard in areas where she walked to look at my gardens. (We are not close and she comes into my yard when we are not home.) When I think of the roses that I dug, bagged up, and sent to the landfill, probably close to 100 or more, some that are not available anymore, some that were very special to me and I cannot replace.......not to mention the $$. I still want to cry......but she is not spraying Round-Up in my yard anymore.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 1:29PM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

I took about 16 or more roses out of my garden about 8 years ago because of it. There were a few roses that didn't have it too bad, and on those I pruned the bad stuff out.

It's nerve racking to prune it out, but it seems to spread from the top, down and if you prune it out sometimes you save the bush.

Vigilance is the key. I didn't know what I had, at first, and the lack of any plan to stop it, allowed its spread.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 12:44AM
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