Rose Rosette Disease
If you grow roses you may have heard of a deadly disease called Rose Rosette, or “witch’s broom”. If you haven’t, then now is the time to learn about it, especially if you have Knock Out® roses, or any kind of rose, in your landscape. It is mistakenly thought that this disease only affects Knock Out® roses; however the high infection rate in these roses is most likely due to them being planted in huge numbers across the Metroplex. Rose Rosette can infect any rose variety in your landscape.
This devastating disease is transmitted by a tiny mite called Phyllocoptes fructiphilus. The disease infects only plants within the genus Rosa, which includes all roses. It can spread quickly from plant to plant via the mites.
Signs to watch out for include:
Leaves and branches are distorted and twisted.
Leaves and branches turn a bright red color.
Overabundance of foliage.
Excessive thorns so thick that you may not see the branches themselves.
Bright red thorns.
Rose Rosette Disease can take up to two years to kill your rose plant. This slow-death is often what causes homeowners to think they may have cured their plant. But in that time, the mite that causes it will have most likely spread the virus to other roses in your landscape, your neighbor’s landscape, or all over your neighborhood. Because the disease is a virus, or virus-like, there is currently no cure.
The best treatment is to completely remove and destroy the infected rose plant, including its root system, as soon as you see signs. Do not put infected plants into the compost pile! Place them directly into the trash so that mites do not spread.