Rose Rosette Disease

Asked May 16, 2020, 2:15 PM EDT

The first two photos are a group of 5 poor performing rose bushes. Are they infected with rose rosette disease? If so, any tips or "how to's" for safely extracting these and their entire root system? I feel in over my head to do this completely. The third photo is another area on our property of 3 roses and it appears the middle one is infected as well. Can you confirm? If so, do you think it's safe to extract just the infected one to see if the other two stay healthy? Or is it too late and all 3 will need to be extracted. These three have been so beautiful with many years of growth so super sad if they need to be pulled. Any ideas what might be a good plant to replace these as I read it's not recommended to replant with roses due to the risk of catching the disease as well. Appreciate any help,

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

We can't say for sure about the first and second photos. Many roses have reddish new growth. It could also be the beginning of rosette distortion. Look for more symptoms on those roses. If these roses did not have this amount of reddish new growth in the past, then it is probably rose rosette.

New growth could account for the reddish leaves on the third photo, also. However, there is a short portion of the stem in the right upper quadrant of the photo which is displaying profuse thorniness. That is likely to be rose rosette and should be removed ASAP.

Because you have healthy roses in that bed, all the more reason to remove the infected one immediately. Just dig it up gently--bag it right there to prevent the mites from falling off and getting on the other roses-- and dispose of it. No complicated treatments need to be done. Read through this page: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/rose-rosette-shrub
Be sure to also look at the photos in the link at the bottom. They look very similar to yours.

We're recommend replanting with a native shrub. A variety of plants is always best to avoid disease and pest problems. Fothergilla, summersweet, winterberry, and ninebark (not redl-leaved) are all good for flowers or berries, and beneficial for butterflies and birds.. For a low shrub, you can try itea.

Ellen