|Several roses in this bed are showing symptoms of rose rosette.|
Those of you living in the Raleigh, North Carolina area may have read the article in the News and Observer on Saturday August 25, 2012 about the removal of several rose bushes from the Raleigh Rose Garden and from a traffic circle on Hillsborough Street. The reason: they had been diagnosed with rose rosette. This disease has been known in North America for decades, but it seems that it has become more common in our area over the last two years. The author of the N&O piece, Bruce Siceloff, did a good job of gathering and presenting the pertinent facts about this disease. Let me review some of them here and expand on what he provided.
|Witches' broom and leaf deformation|
|The shoot on the left retained its red color.|
Research has shown that the incubation period for rose rosette can vary from 17 days to 9 months. Incubation period simply means the length of time it takes for a plant to show symptoms once it has been infected. We don’t have set recommendations about quarantining plants you get via purchase or trade, but some period of isolation and observation may be a good idea.
Is there a bright side to this story? It’s cold comfort to rose growers that this disease does not affect other kinds of plants. More encouraging is that some rose species are resistant. According to the second edition of Sinclair and Lyon’s excellent book, Diseases of Trees and Shrubs (2005, Cornell University Press), resistant species include the native Rosa setigera and Rosa carolina. No doubt some of these will be exploited in breeding programs trying to bring resistance into garden roses. Until then, vigilance and a shovel are our best tools against this serious problem.