Red Roses and Rose Rosette Disease.

I meant to reply to an earlier thread when Cathy mentioned that all of her roses that came down with Rose Rosette Disease were red.

I think location might have more to do with it and windy days. When I lived in Richmond,VA, about 2007, we had a few days in early summer where the wind was raging and howling and would constantly change direction (think of a giant taking a tree truck and angrily shaking it all over). Yes, I looked at the small woods behind my property and noticed all the tree tops were shaking in diverse directions. A few months later, I noticed my two large thornless multiflora bushes which were adjacent to each other and on the property when I moved there exhibited witch’s broom on their tops. Their blossoms were typical wild multiflora WHITE. They were on the right hand side of the lot near the house. Just behind them was a hedge of tall Leyland Cypress.

On the left hand side of the property further down and near the back, my Petite PINK Scotch had it also. They were at the drip line of a large Tulip tree.

The following year, my 6 ft tall Robin Hood which is a MEDIUM PINK OR LIGHT RED came down with it,again a month or so after some strong windy days . It was along a chain link fence near PPS and stood above the other shrubs and had large trees near it, which might have slowed the wind down.

Moved to Long Island, NY . Two years ago, about a month or so after some early summer very crazy windy days, LAVENDER Veilchenblau showed the tell tale witches broom. It was against a 6ft stockade fence which would have helped to block the wind and slow it down. This past summer, along that same fence,but closer to the house, my Climbing Pinkie, which is a medium PINK showed the tell tale Witch’s broom sign.

I cut the PPS and thornless Multiflora back to the ground, hoping I could save them. The following year, they came up and looked healthy but mid summer the witch’s broom had appeared on the plants so I cut them back to the ground and used round up to kill them. Ditto the Robin Hood, although a branch that had rooted and been cut away remained healthy.

The Veilchenblau had some branches that had rooted at their tips earlier so I immediately cut them away and put them in pots and they were fine last year. If they don’t show symptoms this year I’ll assume they are out of the woods. The Climbing Pinkie had no canes rooted at the tips so I made some summer cuttings from canes on the periphery of the plant which appeared healthy. Time will tell. On the main plant, I cut the canes which showed RRD to the ground. If the mother plant or the cuttings show evidence of RRD this summer, they will have a date with Round Up(full strength).

Ann Peck use to have link on the Garden Web Forum which linked to a paper which she had done on Rose Rosette Disease. One of the points she made was to notice the wind patterns and where the wind is slowed by tree lines or buildings, etc.

In 2002 I visited the famous rose gardens in Norfolk, VA. They had their hybrid teas planted in rectangular raised beds, usually a grouping of one or two varieties in each bed. I noticed, scattered throughout the beds, that there were one or two bushes showing Witch’s Broom in some of the beds, sometimes the affected bushes were adjacent to each other. I don’t recall the color of the blooms of the infected bushes. The beds were in fairly open areas as I recall. The bushes seemed to have been infected randomly throughout the garden.
JimP in NY,zn7a

How did you rule out herbicide spray damage?

In both locations (NY,VA) the neighbors were not into spraying. Also, other roses near them were not affected.

In NY, Veilchenblau and Climbing Pinkie were separated from each other on the same fence line by about 6 other rose bushes along that same fence which showed no damage. In VA, Petite Pink Scotch was about 10 feet in from the fence line. Surrounding it was a huge Tausendschoen and other rose bushes all unaffected as well as a small rose cutting propagating bed unaffected.

I do think the infection is random in that it takes only one virused insect (mite) to land on a rose bush when the wind velocity drops enough. When I had the first infections in Virginia, it really bothered me since there was nothing I could do to prevent them. I have since become more philosophical about it though it still bothers me when I lose a rose bush to it. In the case of the multiflora and Robin Hood, I had previously rooted some cuttings. The Petite Pink Scotch had sent up some plants from the roots but they in time showed the disease the following summer,so I killed them with herbicide. The rose is extremely thorny so I had no wish to replace it. The Veilchenblau as I said had tip rooted and I potted it up but I won’t be sure til this year if it is clean. Unfortunately, I had no rooted cuttings of Climbing Pinkie. If these prove to be infected, then I have lost the plant.

My philosophy has become like the English Royalty tradition, one needs an heir and a spare. If I were much younger and had fewer family responsibilities, I would endeavor to have a copy of every rose bush in the yard in a different location for a backup.


[quote=“jimpnyz7a”]I meant to reply to an earlier thread when Cathy mentioned that all of her roses that came down with Rose Rosette Disease were red.
I think location might have more to do with it and windy days.[/quote]

Thank you for the info, Jim. My reds were planted in 4 different beds, at least 5-8 feet away from each other. That’s why I wondered if the mite was attracted to red.
I will replace Chrysler, Firefighter and Alec’s Red this spring, they were good pollen parents and produced some hips too. Don’t know about the germination yet.

I will plant the new roses in different spots than the infected roses were in. And I will vigorously remove all multiflora and any infected cultivars in my garden at the first sign of infection. In addition to vigorously spraying to kill the mite.

Hopefully, 2015 will be the year where I can gain control of RRD in my rose garden.

Thank you, again,
Cathy, Central NJ zone 7a

Also, those roses don’t just have redness in common. They’re all extremely fragrant moderns based on HT genetics, and mostly close relatives. All are descended from Crimson Glory. Mr. Lincoln is Chrysler Imperial’s offspring, and Firefighter is its great-great grandchild in two different ways.

Mites have rudimentary senses of touch and smell/taste, but their eyes are extremely simple, when they exist at all – some species lack them. If their infection of red roses was not purely coincidental, there are a lot of other factors those roses have in common which might be responsible. Who knows what standards mites use in deciding whether a plant is food or not?