Rose bush leaf problem

Asked February 5, 2019, 1:57 PM EST

I have a rose bush growing on south side of a white barn in Denton maryland. I don’t know what kind but it’s NOT a knockout. It’s about 5 years old. Last year all the new leaves grew in really frizzled and it did not flower much. I attached photos. What do you think it is? Thx.

Caroline County Maryland

3 Responses

There are two concerns that immediately spring to mind upon viewing your photos.

The first is possible damage from weed herbicide use that contains growth inhibitors. On some plants like rose and tomato, spray drift or possible misapplication of products containing glyphosate (like Round-Up and others) can cause twisting and elongated foliage/leaves. See here for comparison (bottom of page):

Another possiblity is a nasty, somewhat new disease that is infecting roses in our area, both wild and cultivated, called Rose Rosette Disease.
This has the twisting, disfigured leaves but also other symptoms, including the weird 'witches brooming' growth habits, etc.
Take a look at our page on that here:
Rose Rosette Disease:


Hi, thank you for that info. It looks more like the glyphosate damage, and that is a possibility. If it is, will new growth look more normal starting in the spring?

Would you consider this an ok plan? If I see new normal growth, keep the plant and give it some TLC. If I see more of the same problem (without possiblity of glyphosate), dig it up and dispose of it asap? Thank you.

Yes, if it is glyphosate damage, the plant can grow out of it. You can prune the plants back now and see if you get normal growth in the spring. Here is our information about pruning roses:

If the new growth does not look normal and has this same bunchy appearance, then the best course of action would be to take the plants out and dispose of them in the trash (not compost). There is no cure for rose rosette disease.