In 1985, the United States Senate passed a resolution asking the president to declare the rose as the national floral emblem. On November 20th, 1986, then president Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation certifying the rose as the national flower in a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden.
A couple of seasons back, we put out an announcement that we had found a disease in roses that is new to our area. Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) causes distorted growth in roses and can not be cured. Plants with RRD must be removed from the landscape and destroyed to avoid spreading the disease to adjacent plants.
RRD has been shown to be spread by tiny mites called eriophyid mites. Mites pick up the disease from one plant and spread it to other plants when they feed on them. Wild roses are a big source of the disease. A large percentage of wild roses are infected and they are prevalent throughout our area. Mites that feed on infected roses are transported to cultivated roses by birds, mice, wind, etc. When mites insert their mouthpart to feed on a healthy plant, they introduce the disease to the new plant.
Rose Rosette Treatment
There is no cure for RRD. Our best option at this point in time, is to manage the mite populations on rose plants. We have developed a program where we treat the roses on a regular basis with miticides labeled for control of eriophyid mites. While no program is 100% effective, we have had good success.
In the past, we had been recommending treatment programs to clients with rose varieties that are more susceptible to standard rose diseases such as black spot. Because we have found Rose Rosette Disease on many varieties of roses, including those that are typically disease resistant, we recommend treatments to roses that aren’t already protected.
In addition to mite treatments, cultural controls, such as pruning in late winter or maintaining separation between plants, can help to minimize their spread.
If you have roses and are concerned, please give us a call at (908) 204-9918 and we’ll come out to evaluate and put together a program for you.