Update on Rose Rosette Disease

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on January 8, 2017

Pink multiflora rose

Pink multiflora rose

Multi Flora Rose Bush

multifloral rose bush in bloom

Rose Rosette Disease is thought to be caused by a virus that came over to the United States in the 1800s with Asian wild roses.  Many of these roses were planted by settlers all over the United States and have become naturalized.  Rose Rosette Disease is now infecting cultivated roses throughout the United States, but especially in the South.

Rose Rosette disease is caused by a virus (Emaravirus sp.) that is spread by a very small, eriophyid mite.  This mite is so small you need a microscope to see it.  However, it certainly is big enough to cause trouble.  The wingless mite is blown on one rose bush, feeds, then is carried by the wind to another rose bush.  The problem with this is, in addition to damaging the rose bush, the virus is injected into the plant along with the mite’s saliva.  The virus then attacks the foliage and roses and kills the infected rose in two to three years.  Unfortunately, since rose rosette is caused by a virus, there is currently no treatment for it.  The infected rose bush must be dug and destroyed.  When digging out the rose bush, it is vital to get every last root out.    If a new rosebush is planted where the other died, the pieces of root can infect the new rose, too.

a rose bush with rose rosette disease

A rose bush with rose rosette disease

The symptoms of rose rosette disease are most severe at the tender ends of the rose cane.  First, the underside of the leaves turn red.  Then the bush grows a witches broom at the ends of the rose cane. This is followed by a lot of growth on the vegetative shoots.  These shoots are typically more succulent that normal and are colored in various shades of red.  Leaves often become deformed and turn yellow and red.  As the disease progresses, leaves become very small and most lateral buds grow, producing red shoots that are very short.  The disease makes the rose very vulnerable to freeze damage.  It can also mimic herbicide damage.

The female mites can lay one egg a day for about thirty days.  The young hatch in three to four days and start eating.  They can reach adulthood in a week, depending on the temperature.  There are many generations each year.  When it starts to get cold, the females move to overwintering sites.

The months of May through mid-July when the plants are actively growing are when the disease is more easily transmitted.  Symptoms start showing up in mid-July.  It is important to remove any bush with symptoms and wrap the bush in a garbage bag, then deposit it in the trash.  Do not compost sick roses as that just spreads the disease.

Since the mite is spreading the virus, one way to stop the problem is by pruning away two thirds of the rose bush in late winter.  Then spray the remainder of the rose bush with horticultural oil, paying special attention to the tips of the rose bush.  Then spray the rose bush with oil once a week from June to July.


Planning Your Vegetable Garden

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on December 23, 2016

It is time to plan your vegetable garden for the coming season. Seed catalogs are coming in the mail.  The weather may be horrible but you can dream of spring and planting your garden.  You can plan your garden and order your seeds and plants while they are still available.  At the very least, you can start the seeds inside so they are ready for planting when the weather warms up.

Planning your garden includes rotating your crops so that the new plants do not get diseases or pests from the place where that crop was planted last year.  It is best to rotate crops by families:  cole crops such as cabbage and broccoli, nightshade plants such as tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes, cucurbits such as squash, cucumbers, and melons, and the root crops such as carrots, turnips, and beets.

The easiest way to plan your garden is to decide what you want to grow and make a list.  Get two pieces of graph paper.  One one, draw your vegetable garden space.  Make sure it is to scale.  With the second piece of paper, draw how much space each crop you want to grow takes up.  Note the day each crop should be planted and the number of days it takes from planting to harvest.

Cut out each crop making sure you get all of the space it needs.  For example, cucumbers need more space than radishes.  Now you are ready to design your garden.  Place the different vegetables on the gardening space sheet of paper.  Move them around until the earliest crops are planted in a good spot away from where they were planted last season.  These early plants typically include onion slips, radishes, turnips, rutabagas, snap peas and beets.  When you are satisfied, tape the pieces of paper representing your vegetables to the one representing you garden.  That is your planting guide for the early season planting.  Some of you do not get to plant an early season garden because it is too cold where you live.  However, you can follow the same directions to get your garden planned for when it is warm enough to plant.  Also, once you have planned your garden, you can count back six to eight weeks before the actual outdoor planting season starts and start some seeds growing that will ultimately be planted in the garden when it is warm enough for them to grow.

Another advantage of planning your garden this way is succession planting.  For example, radishes take around 45 days from planting to harvest.  Once they are harvested, you can plant another crop of something else in the vacant space.  This helps you grow more vegetables in your plot, even if the plot is small.

You can also experiment with the heirloom varieties of some of your plants when you raise them from seed.  You do not have to be content with only the seeds or plants the nursery carries.  There are several reputable places that carry only or mostly heirloom seeds and plants, such as: Seed Savers Exchange, Baker Creek Heirloom seeds, Renee’s Garden Seeds, and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

Good luck with your garden and may 2017 bring you a bountiful harvest.


Gardenbookfrontcoverthumbnail For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today!

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