My first case of RRD? (picture heavy)

pat_bamaz7August 11, 2014

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 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:

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kentucky_rose zone 6

Not being an expert, at first glance I would think RRD. However, the RoundUp use so close to the rose bush makes me pause...with rain/water I would imagine it could travel through the soil. But the question is does the herbicide cause hyperthorniness? I'll be watching for your responses and Ann Peck's expertise. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 1:31PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I tend to agree--RRD.

If it is (we'll get some more votes in here), dig up the entire bush, roots and all and dispose in a tightly sealed plastic bag.

Yes, you can plant another rose in the same spot. At least, that is what I've done--and no repeat RRD in that spot.

I don't think I've heard of cases where the roses immediately next to an RRD infected rose also picked up the infection. It is more about the wind picking up the mite that carries the infection and despositing it, willy-nilly, on the other side of your back yard or in the neighbor's yard a block away.

You might want to stroll around your neighborhood and see if any other roses seem to be having problems. If so, educate your neighbors and get them to dispose of the rose--so that the wind doesn't pick up their infected mite and send it back to your yard.

For several years in a row, I had one RRD per year. Then I identified my neighbor's RRD rose and got her to dispose of it. My roses never again suffered from RRD infections. Coincidence? Perhaps. Or not.

I don't want to speak out of turn, but this year I have had no RRD infections at all. (Knock on wood.)


Edited to add: I meant to also say that I love your border--so attractive. No wonder you are so upset that anything would invade it and try to destroy your roses. I'd be upset also.

This post was edited by dublinbay on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 14:10

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 2:07PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

It looks like RRD to me. RU drift usually shows wispy growth, not this type of abnormal growth.

Sorry Pat.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:12PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

We've kept our sailboat in Decatur and now in Florence, and I've watched wild multiflora near your part of the world. RRD is there and is also in a lot of fields to the north of you in Tennessee. These fast moving thunderstorms that have come barreling through from the north...easy way to move the vector mites.

Lots of RRD symptoms on your rose. Especially look at the diameters of the new excessive stems coming out of significantly thinner pre-existing canes.

You wrote:If it is RRD, then the healthy looking parts of the bush already have the virus, but just aren't showing symptoms yet?
Transmission within a rose bush isn't instantaneous. There may be parts of the bush that don't have the virus in them yet. But you do want to get rid of the roots that supported that hideous cane.

If so, have I been potentially spreading it to other roses when I deadhead spent blooms

Probably not, because the blooms looked good to you. RRD when it's been in a rose for a while totally messes up the parts of the flower and you would see that.

One problem we have is that we grow big healthy roses and it does happen that a cane can grow excessively and not get noticed immediately.

Do cover that bush with a really big trash bag when you dig it out. Take it far from you roses and see if you and/or your husband can isolate the supporting roots of that sick cane by using a wood chisel to remove them. It's a big enough rose that even removing half of it would leave a rather wonderful mass of rose. I wouldn't replant it next to good roses, but somewhere where you can watch it for three or four months and then if it stays clean, replant it come winter.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:30PM
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mzstitch(Zone 7b South Carolina)

I'm so sorry you are likely losing this rose. I just had to compliment your garden, it's just beautiful.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:21AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Pat, you have my empathy because I know eventually it's coming my way. I hope you can get this bush isolated and protect your beautiful garden!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:51AM
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Thanks to everyone for the help, advice and sympathy! I was pretty sure RRD would be the verdict, but was holding out a bit of hope. I’ve been rather naïve thinking RRD couldn’t find me out here away from civilization on my little 100 acre piece of the world. Now I know and will be vigilant in checking for symptoms on my other roses going forward. Hopefully, since none are showing signs now, they haven’t been infected yet. I could replant the RRD rose out in the pasture and watch it for a few months, but since it’s not an irreplaceable one, I think I’m more comfortable with bagging and burning it. I really wasn’t sure if, once an RRD rose was present, the virus could be transmitted to my other roses by means other than the mites themselves. Sounds like that isn’t likely…so good news there. I will venture around this weekend and see if I can find any roses on neighboring farms that might be infected. Population of our town is 400, so not too many flower gardens to check out…lol. But there is a lot of heavily thicketed, unkempt land in the vicinity. I haven’t seen anything that stood out as multiflora in passing by any of those places, but really no telling what plants and creatures those might be harboring…

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 12:14PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

When you go searching, do look up in trees. Multiflora can climb twenty feet up into trees. Also, as a generalization, the fencelines where multiflora has gotten established in Tennessee and Georgia are along roads that haven't been improved/widened for thirty years or so. Road widening generally wipes out the would-be hedgerows and it takes a while for our woody weeds to reestablish.

This is a hard time of the year to go searching. Later this fall would also be a good time. Healthy multiflora in fall is green- just plain green. Sick multiflora is sometimes a chlorotic yellow green and very often a reddish magenta on the newest sick growth and the reddish magenta stands out in heldgerows.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 12:34PM
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Thanks again, Ann! You’re right…fall is probably a better time for multiflora searches. I’m going to concentrate on looking for cultivated roses in our area that might be infected for now. Will see if anything looks glaringly obvious in the thicketed areas around town, but those are quite scary this time of the year. Will most likely wait until fall and spring to try to do up close inspections of those.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 3:19PM
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welltraveled(z5Mid Mich)

Had to shovel prune one this week.. Will it affect all the other roses on my gardens?? I have 40 some David Austins.. The rose I shovel pruned looked exactly like this.
Worried also about the eden rose that has all the clusters have 7 3 or 5 and no blooms

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 5:22PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

welltraveled--just for you, I went out a few minutes ago and checked my Eden. Most of the leaves come in 7 leaf leaflets. I saw none with just 3 leaves. There was an occasional one with only 5 or 6 leaves per leaflet, but overwhelmingly, the leaflets consisted of 7 leaves.

I don't remember why that issue is so important to you, but I remember you posting about it before.

I do remember posting earlier that Eden is not a good bloomer for everybody. I don't remember how old your Eden is, but you may have to wait 3-5 years for it to do much--that is true for a number of climbers. Of course, none of this has anything to do with RRD. Sorry to hear, however, that you lost another rose to RRD. Many of us have had to go through that loss. It's hard to take.

As I said above, the mite that carries the infection gets blown, willy-nilly, around by the wind. It may blow the mite to the other side of your yard or several blocks away. However, there is no reason to panic that nearby roses somehow caught the infection just because they are nearby. Chances are, they did not--unless there is an infected rose somewhere in the neighborhood and the wind keeps blowing the mite carriers into your yard.

Hope that answers some of your concerns.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:12PM
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