My prized 1954 pink tea rose

Asked July 11, 2016, 7:40 AM EDT

I take a lot of pride in my garden and especially vintage plants that I have inherited from friends and family. My oldest is a white azalea which was my wifes Grandmothers {circa 1944.} This issue however deals with my Moms Pink Tea Rose which is one of my most beloved plants. I started to see a change last year in the appearance of some of the stems {and thorns} and flowers. The thorns went from being spaced evenly and about 1/4" long to really small thorns which covered the stems. The leaves went from medium size and shiny to small and the flowers went from their beautiful medium sized pink flowers to these small little buds and flowers which didn't really look like roses at all and most wouldn't even bloom. This year its pretty much the whole plant that's affected. The first photo is obviously the roses healthy. The second is what they look like now. I am opening another page for some other photos. I do not see bugs or anything that would lend a reason for this and it aint the weather either......this plant is over 60 years old! Thanks for taking the time with this......Don

New Jersey

1 Response

We viewed your photos and There are several factors that may be affecting the plant. Factors includes virus, possible herbicide damage, thrips, and/or possible rose rosette disease. We cannot say for sure. You will have to look for this. See the attached links.
There are several virus that can affect roses. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/virus-diseases-shrubs
Herbicide damage - It is possible that this may be herbicide damage especially if something was sprayed on the shrubs or nearby. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/herbicide-damage-trees-and-shrubs
Thrips http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/thrips-flowers
Rose rosette is a disease caused by a virus. Leaves are usually red and excessive pliable thorns, etc. If this is the case, all you can do is remove the plants. It infects the roots but not the soil. However, the vector, eriophyid mites, may introduce the virus to new plants. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/rose-rosette-shrub
At this point, you may want to take cuttings from healthy growth. Take six inch cuttings and root in soilless mixture.
At this point, all you can do is prune back hard to healthy tissue. Keep watered.
Monitor the new growth to see if it is healthy.
mh