Great virtual tour of the clean rose collection at Foundation Plant Services

Hi Everyone,

The National Clean Plant Network-Roses (NCPN-R) meetings are going on. They created a great virtual tour video. They have close to 900 cultivars in the collection and a number of rootstocks. Foundation Plant Services

Link for video


How neat! Thank you, David!

Thanks for posting this video, David. About ten years ago I was privileged to tour the laboratory at FPS but we didn’t get to walk out in the fields.

People should also view the Youtube videos from FPS showing how tissues are extracted from the tips of the apical meristems from infected plants which are then used to clone virus free plants. The idea is that the tip of the meristem out-paces the virus.

Another method they use is to heat-stress the plants to eliminate viruses. It’s less effective and potentially lethal but it does work.

I’m impresses also by the various technical means they have now to index viruses. I don’t know if they still do this but when I visited there they were grafting bits of roses to strawberry plants as a means of virus indexing. The strawberry would quickly show symptoms if it caught a virus from the rose.

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What strikes me on the field is the desert like conditions. No undergrowth to lessen the heat or the dust that can collect on leaves and maybe hinder the photosynthesis. But that may be on purpuse, to test these plants on heat and typical Californian weather? I’m not familiar with gardening in California, being Belgian and used to humid conditions :slight_smile:

Am I correct that the roses tested here are good for the climate region of California and near regions, but not for the more northern parts of the USA? Maybe there are other research centers for each climate region?

Anyhow, this is really well organised. Nice video. Thank you for sharing.

They’re not really being “tested”. This is the collection of roses which have been indexed, tested and cleaned to remove Rose Mosaic Virus. People and businesses purchase bud wood and cuttings of these varieties to produce plants of indexed, “virus free” roses. The ground is bare due to lack of rainfall. It’s regularly hot and arid. Any undergrowth would have to be artificially irrigated. If not removed, there would be dead weeds like the arid hillsides.


I sure appreciate all they do at FPS for the rose collection. It is so valuable. During the NCPN-Roses meeting we learned from the Eastern Plant Board that big shipments of roses were destroyed due to mosaic. Nurseries bought in lots of bareroot roses from a certain supplier to force in pots for sale and there were strong viral symptoms on many as the plants woke up. In Maryland 25,000 pots were dumped. If I understood right, New Jersey is the only state where specifically rose mosaic (can be one of a few specific viruses giving similar symptoms) is listed as having to be pulled if a rose tests positive for it. In Maryland and other states inspectors have the opportunity to pull obviously virus symptomatic plants from sale that look sick, etc. Hopefully that field grower will use the resources in place more for getting and maintaining clean stock. One of the challenges is that with the heat of the southwest, there are limited windows when symptoms show up to recognize it and pull plants. Being committed to using indexed plants of both scion and rootstocks helps a lot to start clean and stay clean and would be a multiyear commitment to implement.

A key issue for the widespread virus infection in field plantings it sounds like is that some growers do not want to maintain their own blocks of ‘Dr. Huey’ coming to them from a clean source as rootstock propagation material. The space they feel can be better utilized for more production space for plants to be sold. Instead they may take the hardwood cuttings off of budded plants when it is time to remove the rootstock tops. When they use Dr. Huey tops of budded plants for more cuttings, if the bud was infected, the rootstock is infected now. Those infected rootstock cuttings can infect the next rose budded on it. Over the years virus spreads through multiple varieties.

FPS is tight on resources for roses as some supplemental income they got from another crop and could put towards roses is no longer available… Hopefully as the rose collection gets “right sized” moving forward the pain can be minimized with strategic decisions and financial help during the transition. The process would likely involve starting a new, smaller field with just the high interest cultivars to industry and take out the older larger fields.

They have streamlined the process of getting new roses into the collection now with high throughput sequencing (HTS) versus the traditional techniques only (PCR, ELISA and grafting on symptomatic biological index species). Plants come in to the facility in a quarantined area and get tested by HTS (they can recognize sequences of published/known viruses). There are 6 especially problematic viruses that are key for roses that are prioritized not to have. If clean, the plants are grown on for several months and tested again to make sure they weren’t recently infected right before they came. If all is good, the variety can be propagated and added to the collection.

Moving forward to help cover costs of the routine retesting of plants in the collection and maintenance, FPS will need to secure money to fill the gap through fees to enter a rose into the collection and yearly maintenance fees for any proprietary varieties. The growers felt the fees were more than they could afford with introducing 5-6 new roses each year… Hopefully a workable outcome will develop to make sure clean material is available of key commercial varieties and people can afford to get their varieties into the system.


Would it not be easier to grow rootstocks from seeds instead of cuttings? Wouldn’t that solve the problem? As far as I heard, Rose Rosette Disease doesn’t transfer to the seeds, or am I mistaken?
I thought RRS only spreads through budding?
Of course that would mean looking for some other rootstocks.

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For the types of more commonly used stocks in the US, seedlings wouldn’t be sufficiently uniform. The industry has used rooted stocks for nearly a century and what’s left of it still utilizing budding, is still set up for that method. As long as indexed stocks are used and no parts of the previous season’s production is used to produce new stock, virus isn’t an issue. Thankfully, RRD isn’t an issue in California where most budding occurs.

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I was unprepared for the bottom line cost. I filled out the paperwork for cuttings of one variety and the costs were so prohibitive I couldn’t afford to follow through. Perhaps at a later date someone in Florida or Georgia would like to go with me?

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To prevent others from having to go through the process, out of curiosity, how much was it and for how many varieties? I’m sure there are also royalty amounts for any patented variety as well as the PER BUD charge for anything “Austin”.

A few years ago my order was maybe ~$200 if I remember right. I got about 20 varieties. There was a minimum I think of 5 cuttings (I wanted cuttings with leaves to root) per variety and $1 per cutting, plus the phytosanitary certificate (Dept. of Ag comes to inspect) and shipping. The mist bench went bad after sticking the cuttings and I lost some, but thankfully for the most part at least one of each variety rooted. The 5 cuttings of each were large enough I was able to divide them in half to make two from each cutting. If it isn’t active yet, the price per cutting I think will go up to $2. For patented varieties, they don’t collect royalties. The owner of the patent needs to give permission to allow someone else besides the patent owner to have material.

A rose society in CA each year gets a big order of cuttings (or at least used to) and roots them for a fundraiser event and varies which varieties they get each year. My ‘Gaye Hammond’ is in the collection and is patented and I gave permission.

It would be great for a group of people willing to go on on propagation material to work together to meet the minimum and spread the phytosanitary certificate and shipping costs. There are so many wonderful hard to get roses in their collection and we have good confidence they are true to name and also thankfully are free of key viruses.

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I was trying to get Jim Sproul’s ‘Thrive’ again. I only ordered 5 cuttings which in and of themselves were not that expensive. It was the all the paperwork that added more than 200 to the bottom line.