My first case of RRD? (picture heavy)
How did I not notice this?! I walk around and look at all my garden beds every evening when I get home from work. It's hard to pry me out of my yard on the weekends. Yet, somehow I missed seeing this ugly mass on one of my Easy Going bushes. The Japanese beetles started early June and have just started to decline the past couple of weeks...so I have been very focused on those more so than foliage issues...but I still can't believe I didn't see this sooner. The bush is around 7 or 8 years old and is approximately 6 ft tall by 4 ft wide. It's planted very close to a Hot Cocoa and then another Easy Going on the other side of HC so that they intermingle. An Easy Does It is only a few feet down from the EG showing RRD symptoms and a couple of HTs and a couple of Rose de Rescht bushes are also in that bed along with various other flowers/shrubs. I don't see any unusual growth on any of the other roses in this or any other bed. I've never heard of any RRD cases in our area, but not many rose growers around. I live in a tiny town of crops and livestock in the middle of nowhere...not many flower growers here, no mass plantings of Knockouts around and I've never noticed any wild multiflora (but not sure that I would know it if I saw it). Both Decatur and Madison, AL removed many Knockouts a few years ago due to RRD issues, but I haven't heard of any cases in awhile...I'm across the river, through many woods and 40 to 50 miles south of those cities. I've had to remove some coneflowers this year and last due to Aster Yellows virus which mites carry, and my BIL next door had tomato and potato curl issues this year which is another mite virus, so I guess it is feasible that RRD infected mites are around, too.
New growth on the infected canes isn't really discolored, but it does have the extreme number of pliable thorns and the shoots are weak/flexible, as well. The majority of it was on one old woody cane on the edge of the bush. It was a multi-branched 6 ft cane and had a large mass of deformed growth almost mid way down and a lot of other smaller bunches of it all up and down...but older healthy looking branches, leaves and blooms, too. There was also a newer smaller green cane in the center of the bush with some deformed new growth. It could possibly be Round Up damage, but I don't think that causes the excessive thorniness...does it? The rose is planted against the outside of our pool fence. We've been working for a couple of years to eradicate Black and Blue salvia that was planted next to the bush. I've been digging it out of the flower bed, but my DH has used strongly mixed Round Up on the salvia that has travelled under the fence to the other side. The fence is solid, so drift shouldn't be an issue, but as invasive as the salvia has been, it's very possible the salvia and rose roots have mixed. Could this have caused the damage? If it is RRD, then the healthy looking parts of the bush already have the virus, but just aren't showing symptoms yet? If so, have I been potentially spreading it to other roses when I deadhead spent blooms...I deadhead almost daily and am normally only obsessive about cleaning my pruners between each snip while deadheading when canker is present. Are insects that visit the still symptomless growth spreading it to my other roses? I've removed the infected canes, and will remove the bush this weekend if it's RRD. Can I replant a rose in that spot in the spring? I freaked out and removed the canes before I took pictures, but here are shots of some of the nastiness after I cut it out. Sorry for such a long post and TIA!
Here is a partial shot of the bed from 7/1/14. The problem EG is the closest yellow rose in the picture. The majority of the deformed growth was on the side of the bush you can see in the picture. Strong Round Up mixture has been used on the other side of the fence multiple times this year: