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Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

Posted by andreark 9b (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 17, 13 at 21:05

I used the clippers to cut it off. And now I just read a bit more about it. It appears that the clippers and the wound should have been washed in a 10% bleach wash.

This plant has not been very healthy looking and most of the lower leaves are yellowed and brown. (Much more than the rest of my roses.) Now what do I do. Should I dig up the plant and destroy it?

It was only planted 6 months ago but is still rather large for it's age. It wants to be 7 feet tall.

Now what?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

Remember that you can transfer the bacteria on your clippers, from this diseased plant to others in your garden.

You can't cure it.

Personally, when I have found infected roses (and it was clear that most came with it) I have removed them. Others may feel differently, but that's my choice.


RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

Back in CT all my grafts were buried in rich soil so I had galls that you couldn't see but they are no big deal. I've cut off a lot of them with a pairing knife and the rose always comes back in no time like nothing happened. They often recur so look for them if the rose is struggling.

RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

My Abe Darby has it every spring. I just cut off the affected stem. It is disgusting but the rose continues to thrive.

RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

Thank you all for answering. I am distraught, something that happens to me occasionally. (Kim has probably noticed my propensity for this. )

You may know that my first rose bed was installed only 18 months ago. I have had great luck, but now I am very nervous about this 'disease' spreading. Can I do anything to stop this from happening?

Thanks again,


RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

Sterilize your garden tools.


RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

Another #$%$## double post.


This post was edited by jerijen on Mon, Nov 18, 13 at 12:01

RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

Thanks again Jeri. Did that this morning before work.


RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

But, let me say again -- the ONLY reason that I would retain a known gall-infected rose is if it was the only plant of that cultivar available. Something VERY rare, and not easily replaced.

Your rose is a 2006-introduced Hybrid Tea. I'd almost bet money you could replace it easily. And that's what I would do.


RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland


When we are given several ideas on fixing a problem, we will
(naturally) pick the least painful remedy. I tried to ignore

I am pasting something I found online from Clemson Univ. I
usually try to find answers from Universities because they
have no financial reason to BS...

This is from Clemson Univ:

Crown Gall

This disease is caused by a soil-inhabiting bacterium,
Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which infects many ornamentals
in the home garden. The symptoms are rounded galls, or
swellings, that occur at or just below the soil surface
on stems or roots. The galls are light green or nearly
white when young. As they age, the galls darken and become
woody, ranging in size from small swellings to areas
several inches across. The galls disrupt the flow of water
and nutrients traveling up from the roots and stems, thus
weakening and stunting the top of the plant.

Prevention & Treatment: To prevent crown gall, select
disease-free roses. Once a plant is infected, nothing can
be done since there are no chemical controls available
for crown gall. Avoid injury to the roots and crown of
the plant during planting and cultivating because the
bacteria enter through fresh wounds. Remove infected
plants as soon as galls are observed. If possible, remove
and discard the soil from the area where the infected
plant was located. Disinfect all cutting and pruning
tools that have been used near crown gall. To disinfect
tools, dip them for several minutes in a solution of 0.5
percent sodium hypochlorite (household bleach).

I will remove it as soon as I can and replace the soil around
it with new soil.. If I do a good job of removing the soil in the
immediate area, do you think I can plant another rose there?
And if so, should I wait a few months to do this?

Hugs for you Jeri,


RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

I disagree with all of this. You can't replace all your soil and it wont do any good anyway and what if the gall is on a large loved rose that either can't be replaced or would take years to become what you are throwing away? Galls do no lasting harm once they are removed. And if they come back in a couple of what? You cut them off again. And BTW you use a pairing knife that will never touch any of your other roses and gall wont spread anyway. It's in the soil and the better your soil the more of it you will have. You can't kill it but it is slow so live with it. The list of terrible afflictions of roses that you need to be concerned with in most of the country (but thankfully not here) is long but gall is not one of the biggies. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst I would call it no worse than a 2.

RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland


I just want to say that the gall was on my most unfavorite rose. And it was just planted 6 months ago. A great many leaves on the bottom half of the plant are dead or dying. And the canes look like they are also dying. I don't know if they are dying due to the gall or just that it doesn't like me.

Thanks for your concern, but I had already been thinking of replacing the plant. My other roses look as though they are happy to be where they are. This one
is definitely NOT happy in my yard.

Thanks again Henry,


RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

The 2012 American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian Manual states the following:

CONTROL: Always inspect new plants thoroughly before placing them in your garden. Since wounds can
be infected at the time of digging, some plants may have latent infections which could become evident
several years after they were planted. If crown gall is detected, the plant may survive many years but
could serve as a reservoir for the bacteria. Thus, removal of the plant as well as adjacent soil is
recommended. In some cases, soil fumigation is used to kill the bacteria in the soil, but this is only
effective where relatively porous and dry soils are involved. Plant surgery is also an option on specimen
roses, but precautions should be taken to sterilize cutting equipment before and after use. These plants
should probably be removed from the garden and watched closely for further development of disease.
Any plants propagated from infected material should also be watched for the development of galls
resulting from systemic contamination."

H. Kuska comment: In another section they answer your question about replanting time:

"Cause: Gall (aerial, crown or root) - a bacterial problem
entering through a wound or contaminated pruning
Remedy: Prune away affected section, if possible. (Galls
on the graft would kill the plant if pruned off.) Be sure
to sterilize pruners and other tools with bleach or
alcohol to prevent bacteria from spreading. Destroy
seriously weakened plants. Treat soil with bactericide or
leave fallow for two seasons before replanting."

Here is a link that might be useful: link to manual

RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

There are three main kinds of galls. One is Robins pincushion made by small garden wasps which does no harm, the other is caused by damaging a rose and these can be cut off , but the gall caused by bacteria are the worst as the bacteria enter a wound and will also stay in the soil. You can remove the soil to a depth of two feet around the rose hole, but you will still be taking a chance planting a new, healthy rose because if it gets a wound, the bacteria may still be in the soil. You may have just got the gall bacteria when you purchased the rose. Roses are dug up by a machine and are easily damaged. I would use rubbing alcohol because bleach really rusts the steel in rose clippers.

RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

Andreark, I have only had galls on otherwise healthy roses and in every instance the rose has taken off once the gall is removed. I've seen them as big as tennis balls yet the roses are not killed. They are weakened. I've never cut off the part of the rose with the gall. I just cut the gall off very carefully with a pairing knife. And since the gall is always at least part on the graft and usually entirely on the graft to cut the whole thing away would destroy the rose. If the graft is close under the surface and you suspect something just feel with your fingers and you may find a small one which you can pinch off. I must also say that since moving to California I haven't seen a gall or evidence of one anywhere. I think they just like rich composty soil which there isn't much of here.

RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

I've seen gall in 4 roses here. Three came from the same source. All probably came with the disease. None of the four actually got into the soil. I removed them all and put them in the trash, and I do not regret having done so.

As to whether or how to re-hab the soil . . .
Since I never had to do it, I never studied HOW to do it. There are chemicals designed for that purpose. I haven't used them, so I'm no authority.

I think I would remove at least some soil, do everything I could to sterilize what remained, and let the hole lie fallow as suggested. Plant, oh, salvia there. ?Nasturtiums?

I can, however, assure HenrylnCT that Gall DOES show up in roses grown in SoCal.


RE: Just found a large crown gall on Francis Meilland

Dear all, what a wonderful bunch you are.

I have digested everything you have written. And I hope that you all noticed also, that there are many aspects of a gall problem, and also a number of different types of galls.

I called Regan Nursery and they INSISTED that I bring the rose back. They will not only give me a new one, but their rosarian, Victoria, wanted to look at it and help me find a bactericide to drench the soil. This has proven to be difficult. After hours on the web, I found several that had good referrals, from universities primarily. The problem is that only professionals can buy them. I think Regan's will help.

The reason that I have decided that it is a bacterial type infection and a bad one, is that (reading until my eyes watered) , I found that the rate at which this gall grew was much faster than the other two types. Also the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of the plant seems to be dying. Leaves were affected first, now the canes are getting dark brown.

When I told this to Victoria, before telling her what I had ascertained, she immediately said "I'm sure that you only planted that rose 6 or 7 months ago, am I right?" I told her she was right. She asked how long the gall had been there, and I told her it wasn't there long, I would have noticed it sooner. She then said "Yank that thing out quickly and remove as much of the soil as possible" You have a very virulent type of bacteria to have grown so quickly and to be destroying the plant so fast. She also said that some types are not so dangerous and grow very slowly. And some types are from wasps.

So, as it turns out, you are all correct in different ways.

NOW, if anyone knows a good bactericide that I can purchase online, I would certainly be grateful.....I am anyway.

Please send my your good wishes not to have destroyed my beautiful babies. (Mushy, I know)

Thanks, all my fine and ROSY friends,


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