It can surely be disappointing, nearly heartbreaking to find out a beautifully flowering plant you have spent so long cultivating has been infected with a disease. What seems to be a near epidemic in the American Midwest, South, East and even parts of Canada, the Rose Rosette Virus (RRV) is one that has plagued many otherwise beautiful and healthy rose bushes. The virus is characterized by multiple symptoms which include deformed buds or flowers, new and abnormally fast-growing shoots appearing red (and not fading to green as they usually would in a healthy plant), a curved or spiral shape to the canes and foliage known as “witch’s broom” and an overabundance of thorns.
RRV is spread by the tiny eriophyid mite, which feeds on the apex of the rose’s shoots. When the mite feasts on an RRV infected plant, it will then be transferred either by wind, a gardener’s clothing or tools to a healthy plant. RRV is also spread via the wild multiflora rose, which can take over many gardens, both floral and vegetable. It can take months or even years to see signs of viral transfer and infection, but the effects can be devastating. Unfortunately, the Rose Rosette Virus is incurable, but there are measures we can take to prevent the spread of this disease.
Most gardeners and horticulturists agree that proper bush spacing is ideal and necessary to cut down on RRV transmission between plants. There is no proof that miticides are a potential cure for an already infected plant, but may be used as a preventative measure for new rose bushes to discourage mites from making a particular plant a suitable home. If you find your plant has been infected, total removal of the entire plant seems to be the major consensus among experts. It is important that the plant is bagged before it is cut and burned. The roots must also be removed as completely as possible. The dirt will be safe to plant new roses in, thankfully. Contact us today for more planting tips for North Texas.