University of Maryland Extension

Rose Rosette - Shrub

rose cane infected with rose rosette
Symptoms of rose rosette

Rose rosette is becoming very apparent on wild roses along roadsides. This disease abbreviated (RRD), is caused by a virus and infects multiflora as well as ornamental roses. The initial symptoms are reddening of the stems and stunted growth. Sometimes there is a proliferation or clustering of stems with excessive soft pliable thorns. The flowers may also abort. Infected roses may die within two years.

The disease is transmitted by an eriophyid mite and by grafting. Mites can be carried by wind currents from infected roses to healthy plants downwind. Multiflora rose serves as the main source of infection in ornamental plantings.

mite that vectors rose rosette
Eriophyid mite that vectors the disease

rose rosette
Distorted growth caused by RRD

deformed rose buds
Infected flower buds

abnormal thorns
Excessive soft pliable thorns

infected rose shrub
Leaves infected with rose rosette

Management Strategies

Early detection is critical to prevent further disease spread within a planting. Infected roses should be uprooted and removed promptly. Remaining roses should be closely monitored for symptoms. If possible, multiflora roses should be removed from the vicinity. Ornamental plantings should be planted upwind of multiflora roses and spaced so that their foliage will not touch. There are no pesticides for this disease and the control of eriophyid mites is very difficult. 

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