Friday, 27 May 2016

EXTRA EXTRA Read All About it!

  After noticing rose rosette on my own roses, all I wanted to do was warn others. I assumed that it was possible that many did not even realize rose rosette existed. Thinking it would be a great idea, I quickly notified the paper. I presented an article written by my teen.

After the article was written we promptly emailed it as instructed. The editor of our small local paper told us the article was being edited and would be published in an upcoming edition. We were excited, not because we were proud it was good enough to be published, but because we wanted to help others, we wanted to save more roses than just our own.

We told others to be watching for the article, as we wanted to believe it would be published very soon. Sadly we never saw the article published. This has not discouraged us. Our local extension agent told us they would be willing to give an educational presentation sometime during the next few months. This in itself will help save more roses from the dreaded rose rosette virus.

Below is a copy of the article presented, along with an additional one about boxwood blight. We assumed if we also showed how devastating and destructive some plant diseases are, maybe others would wake up and listen about rose rosette.

Rose rosette article:

Almost everyone loves roses, the flower that symbolizes love with its divine scent. However, there is something threatening these beautiful bushes. This is a deadly virus on the loose, which is blowing in the wind on a mite as small as a speck of dust. One would never believe this tragedy would strike their beloved rose garden, or anywhere near them. Most people don’t even know this virus exists, how to recognize it, or even what to do if it is discovered.

The deadly disease that only strikes roses is known as the rose rosette virus. It is spread by the eriophyid mite, that is as tiny as a speck of dust and blown in the wind like a balloon. This mite then lands on your roses, waiting to devour them and transmitting this deadly virus causing unfortunate death. The disease gives the rose a sickly witches broom appearance, with unnatural bright red leaves, elongated and deformed, and only half open flowers that will often have misshapen petals. It is so bad, that in Texas they have formed a Rose Rosette Eradication Society.

It is more common than people realize. If you look, you can see it in the roses planted at shopping malls, restaurants, and even nurseries! This killer even plagues public rose gardens. Some uninformed nurseries don't even know what the disease is, and merely chop off the strange growth, causing consumers to spread it to their own gardens. Even lawn care companies that you trust to know best will unknowingly spread the virus through uncleaned tools, as they have never heard of it and do not know what a threat it is. Inexperienced planters plant Knockout Roses in overabundance, thinking they don't get any disease, but no rose is immune, not even the vastly popular and massively planted Knockouts. As these roses are treated as no-prune no-care, they make large nets perfect for sucking in mites.

There is no cure. Despite how brutal it may sound, once your rose is infected it is gone. Opinions widely differ, but once discovered the infected roses require prompt attention. Some believe if only one branch is affected, you can cut it off and carefully watch for normal growth. However, most experts recommend that the plant be dug up and disposed of or burned, and then equipment should be sterilized. Even the scarcest bit of root remaining may cause the next rose you plant there to rapidly contract the virus, causing it to get sickly and die. Even roots from one rose bush touching another can spread this virus.

Stopping the spread of rose rosette is extremely important. Many choose to ignore and neglect causing the virus to spread to others. This is terrible, and if you do this you are becoming part of the problem, and part of the reason rose rosette continues like the plague in roses. Nothing works well to prevent it, not even miticides. All you can do is keep strict watch over your bushes, and destroy any infected as soon as they appear. Do not wait for the virus to go away on its own, as it will not. Doing so will only improve the spreading of this terrible disease. It is important for communities and neighbors to work together to remove infected roses to stop the spread of this horrid disease.

 There is a test to confirm rose rosette for the people who need scientific proof. You can get more info on it at your county extensions office. If this has the power to wipe out Oklahoma City’s public rose garden, it surely has the power to wipe out yours.

Boxwood blight article:

 It’s obvious that the boxwood is an important plant. They’re seen everywhere from in front of houses to surrounding UGA’s football field. Most of the stunning, well-cut topiaries visible in garden centers and yards alike were carved from boxwood. However, these iconic hedges are at risk for extinction, all thanks to a fungal disease known as boxwood blight.

  Boxwood blight is like other plant diseases on steroids. The deadly disease can turn a plant that was once green and beautiful into dead twigs within two days. All this damage is caused by small, sticky fungal spores. They’ll latch on clothing, pets, people, or anything else in their path. If an infected spore comes into contact with a boxwood shrub, it can often prove fatal to the bush.

  The only reason boxwood blight is so widespread is because of how little is known about it. Proper precautions are not taken. Infected plants are composted and disposed of normally. The soil and fallen leaves are not given special treatment, and they contain the disease. If people begin to take care in making sure plants are not diseased, and eliminate those that are, fatal plant diseases such as boxwood blight wouldn’t be spreading as they are today.

  The first symptoms of boxwood blight include brown spots on the leaves and stems. If left, these spots grow into dark lesions on the plant. Eventually, the entire shrub will become devoid of leaves, instead a mass of dead sticks. During the time it takes for the plant to become infected and die, many more can get it. The only thing that can prevent further spread is immediate and careful removal as soon as the telltale spots appear.

  No boxwood is immune, from the roughest-cut yard shrubs to the carefully pruned ones owned by master gardeners. Fungal sprays cannot cure it. The only remedy for this fatal disease is prevention.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Neighborhood Leader's Concern for Rose Rosette

 My neighborhood entrance.

One would expect the most logical thing to do when a fatal plant disease is present in a neighborhood is to contact their HOA. Would it be possible for an HOA to help? Would it be possible for them to do something, anything? Would they at all be concerned about people in the neighborhood? Could they spring for some paper and stamps? Could they do anything at all?

When a local bar at the edge of the neighborhood had a band play, an emergency HOA meeting was called to see if the noise would be bothersome to residents. I thought surely a fatal plant disease that affects our national flower would have some importance. Sadly I was mistaken, it would appear all the board members were too busy or had little to no concern. If I parked my car on the street, or left my trash can out, I could be fined, but diseased roses don't seem important enough to do anything.

Naively, I believed they would be concerned and take action. I did exchange text with one HOA member, left a handwritten note on their door along with literature. This HOA member led me to believe something would be done. I sent messages through facebook without any response. I sent 2 emails without any response. Only after the second letter informing them a certified letter was being mailed did they post a picture of the first flyer on their facebook page. A photo that I had texted from my phone at that, not a scanned copy, not even the color copy they were emailed.  It was not left up very long before it was taken down. When I posted public messages on their facebook page they immediately erased them.

Names have been removed to respect privacy. Here are the emails that were sent. No action was taken from either email.

April 23:

Last weekend I posted a message on Nextdoor neighborhood site in an attempt to get others to inspect their roses. Only 1 person replied, and 1 person thanked me. Most people will ignore rose rosette thinking that if enough of a chemical is sprayed it will not be a problem and go away. Rose rosette is much different than black spot and other similar problems which one can take care of. There is no cure for this virus, no rose bush is immune. Anyone who is able to find a cure for this virus will be wealthy.

Some probably think so what, I will just dig this one up and plant another in its place no big deal. Problem is, most likely they end up with another diseased rose bush. The Knock Out rose that is mostly planted in the neighborhood is not immune to this virus, no rose is immune. Knock Out roses are the ones used in studies for this disease.

Most rose breeders breed for beauty and scent, in gardens or greenhouses. The Knock Out rose was not, it was bred in a laboratory, and bred to survive. Some people may think a rose is a rose, they come in various colors, if one bush dies a quick trip to any big box store will yield them another rose bush. At a big box store they are a dime a dozen.

I did not want to mention my own roses, and you will most likely view me as a rose snob, but my roses can't be replaced at a big box store. I rooted cuttings for most of my roses and they grew into plants. Some of the ones I have are not readily available in commerce, not rooted year round, nor rooted on a yearly basis. I was on a wait list for one rose I just received after almost 2 years, another is not available in commerce in this country, and I waited 3 years only to put them in harms way.  If this one rare breed of  rose is destroyed of mine, I will never be able to have it replaced.

this is not about me, this is not about my roses, this is about all the roses in the neighborhood infected with the virus, and the ones that are not. Someone may want to point the finger and say because I have roses not marketed as disease proof, my roses are the ones spreading disease. If this were true, my roses are so small they would all have died by now. I noticed one that appeared to have rosette on one branch and immediately destroyed the whole bush, another I destroyed by mistaking new growth as the disease. The disease is spread by a diseased mite blown in the wind.

What you will see is deformation in the infected rose bushes. Make no mistake these infected rose bushes will die. The longest documented rose with RRD was 7 years. An infected rose will show symptoms anywhere from 3 weeks to a year. As these dying rose bushes wait for their demise, the wind is blowing thus spreading the infected mites to neighboring rose bushes. This disease destroyed Oklahoma City's public rose garden, it destroyed over 800 rose bushes on 1 university campus in Texas. This disease has the power to wipe out all the roses here in our neighborhood.

As long as no one is aware or inspecting or having their roses inspected for the disease when there is a known outbreak, it will continue to spread. No one can force anyone to inspect their roses, or remove diseased roses, but it is possible to make them aware. Roses are not meant to be planted and forgotten, they are meant to be cared for.

I am unclear who does the landscaping at person's house, but for them to have  noticed the witches broom appearance then not attempt to figure out what was wrong and take action is saddening. Unfortunately some of their rose bushes are showing more advanced stages. I told them, and left literature on their door, but they were unconcerned and insisted that Knock Out roses don't get any disease. I would be willing to bet any rose they have that is not infected will be infected. They are not the only person in the neighborhood who has infected roses, it is scattered about.

There is an epidemic of rose rosette in this neighborhood no doubt. Some may know and not care, some may not know. If one of my plants had a disease that had the potential to kill all the same type of plant, I would want someone to tell me. There must be some way to notify people and ask them to act responsibly to stop the spread of disease. Some people may know of the disease and not have the ability to remove the rose bushes themselves. Is there any way to get volunteers to help those who are unable to dig the bushes themselves or don't have the financial means to hire outside help?

I have merely touched the surface on this topic. Most research is being conducted in Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee. No research is being conducted in residential or public gardens, only controlled studies at limited universities. Until this disease strikes  more important national rose gardens, few will continue to notice and take appropriate action or conduct research to stop this virus. I left literature on HOA  door, and I know they are busy thinking of what to do and how to go about it.  In the meantime here are 3 more links that may be of help.

I realize that all of you volunteer and do not receive compensation or gratitude when it is deserved for serving on the HOA, and are met with complaints all hours of the day and night, some matters important some not. I apologize for bringing this to your attention, as this has nothing to do with HOA rules, and this is just another complaint of something that none of you should even have to deal with.

May 1: This is being mailed certified. A copy was also left on HOA member porch.


It has come to my attention that there is a severe outbreak of the rose rosette virus in this neighborhood. I have provided literature, sent emails, texts, and none of you have bothered to respond back with what your intentions are on what can or should be done. Again rose rosette virus is nothing to be ignored, once infected most roses die within 2 years. There are so many infected bushes now, if it continues there will be no roses at all in this neighborhood.

It is written in your own rules not to destroy vegetation. This is not about policing homeowners on how to perform their lawn-care, this is about informing them in a simple polite manner that there is a plant virus that can wipe out all the roses in the neighborhood, and as a community we should work together to take care of this problem. I have already lost 3 rose bushes, and will most likely loose 4 more due to the wind blowing visible debris from diseased bushes on them.

Because of your failure to respond to my pleading, I passed out flyers with simplified information clearly stating it was not endorsed by the HOA. HOA member led me to believe that he would post information online for residents, even post photos or information on facebook, yet he did not. It is very discouraging and disappointing that this situation continues to be ignored by the HOA

Lack of concern is only contributing to the spread of this virus that is fatal to roses. You were asked if you could come up with solutions or volunteers for those who are physically unable to dig up their infected plants, unable to hire outside help, or to ask the lawn care company to provide a discount to help remove diseased plants. Providing people with helpful solutions to those who need it could be beneficial in the long run. Those with infected bushes may need your assistance, are you prepared to provide it?

You could have informed everyone the rose rosette virus was in the neighborhood, or you could have done something, yet so far nothing has been done. While everyone sits and does nothing, the virus keeps spreading to additional rose bushes. This rose rosette virus has gone unnoticed for quite some time by the appearance of some of the bushes. Few have noticed the weird appearance, attempted to find out what it is, or what to do about it.  This is precisely why the rose rosette virus is so widespread in the neighborhood.  Is it possible that somehow people were misled into what they thought were plant and forget about roses? Very few residents have found it important enough to take action. A simple notification from the HOA could have been extremely helpful in this situation.

Does every rose bush in this neighborhood have to become infected and die before you realize this is actually a serious problem? Is this neighborhood going to be without any roses because you ignored this problem when you could have prevented it from becoming worse. According to researchers the mite that carries the disease can hitchhike on other insects, pets, clothing, leaf blowers, even your car. There is no magic spray that can wipe out rose rosette. I will use HOA member as an example, rose rosette is right across the street from him, even beside him. How long will it be before his rose bushes become infected? Or does he even care? There have been some windy days, how long before all the bushes in the neighborhood are infected and die?

It would appear that hardly anyone including the HOA cares that rose rosette has the potential to kill every rose bush here at Neighborhood. When others come asking why didn't you tell us, why didn't you help us, why didn't you tell us this was really serious, you will not be able say that you were not informed. Please help to stop the spread of this devastating disease.

My Name

Sunday, 15 May 2016


It was recommended by several sources to share information. I was sternly scolded by a master garner on how important it is to stop the spread of disease, another suggested posting on Twitter, facebook, Nextdoor, EVERYWHERE! Well, here is my experience posting on Nextdoor.

 Our Nextdoor consist of 47 members, some have separate accounts for spouses. It is not very active, a few post about yard sales and such. I thought I would take the opportunity to use Nextdoor as a way to help my neighbors and bring more awareness. I was sure they would find the information helpful, interesting, and be willing to dig up their infected roses, protect their roses. I thought maybe I could protect them from turning their street into a water park or getting electrocuted.  Here is a list with dates of my post, and the reaction or lack there of.

April 17: There is no easy way to say this, I have seen the rose rosette virus aka witches broom on many roses throughout the neighborhood.

If you think this is not serious THINK AGAIN! This virus is here in this neighborhood. If you have infected roses they will die, most likely within 2 years if not sooner! The longest documented only lasted for 7 years.

Knock Out roses which are mostly in the neighborhood are marketed as a rose that NEVER gets any disease, and NEVER needs any care. That is a myth, According to researchers Knock Out roses have been unknowingly sold at big box stores with this virus. Most researchers use Knock Out roses in their trials.

There is no known cure for the rose rosette virus, if one of your rose bushes is infected it will die. The disease is spread by an extremely small mite not visible with the naked eye through the air when the wind blows. Even using a leaf blower around infected roses helps spread the virus.

If you choose to do nothing, the mite that transmits the virus will continue to multiply then be blown by the wind to your neighbor's roses.

Experts say to dig up the plant roots and all then dispose of it. Then not plant another rose in that location for quite some time. The longer you wait the bigger the colony of mites becomes, and the more it spreads.

I urge everyone to inspect your rose bushes, ask neighbors to inspect their rose bushes. If you think you have observed this fatal rose disease known as rose rosette virus, but need a second opinion call the cooperative extension, ask them to verify. The virus only effects roses, as far as the experts know. An infected rose can show symptoms in as little as 3 weeks or take as long as 1 year.

If nothing is done this virus can spread like wildfire killing ALL the roses here in our neighborhood. As a precaution I dug up 2 roses, because I believed they had one infected branch. When your rose has more than 1 infected branch,

There is nothing you can spray that will make this virus go away. If your roses are not yet infected, you should start spraying them with a miticide and spray weekly. If you are an organic person, get some lady bugs and some more beneficial insects. Start inspecting your roses regularly. There are public rose gardens that are plagued with this virus, no rose is immune, but you can stop the spread.

Please look carefully at the photos in this these links of the rose rosette virus. Take a moment to actually read the attached links. The more the virus is ignored the more it spreads.

1 neighbor thanked me  1 neighbor replied : "We just decided to cut them down to the ground and see if they comeback. Thanks for the info." My responce: If a bush is fully infected, roots and all should be bagged and removed. If only a one branch is infected, there is a slight possibility that the bush will come back healthy. Pruning equipment should be cleaned with bleach to avoid spreading the virus to other rose bushes. Unless the rose bush is rare or has extreme sentimental value it should be destroyed roots and all.

April 30: Flyers were passed out to every household unless it got blown away by the wind. The rose rosette virus is very serious and should not be ignored or taken lightly. While passing out fliers I noticed many houses that had roses seriously infected with the rose rosette virus. Not one street was without infected rose bushes. I have spoken with a few who have taken care of the issue or have made arrangements to have the infected roses removed. The cooperative extension service is available to help you identify suspected plants. If you have roses infected with rose rosette please act responsibly and remove the infected plants promptly. Failure to remove the infected plants will continue the onslaught of this deadly virus.

I responded to this post 7 times with photos of my roses, no one thanked me.

May 2: Call Before You Dig! 811 Call before you dig or (800) 282-7411 please make that call if you haven't done so already. Under ground utilities mostly run parallel with the side walk. I encourage everyone with infected bushes near the sidewalk to make that call ASAP! It is important anyway to call them, take photos of where your utilities are marked and use it as future reference. It is not safe to use mechanical equipment to dig near these underground utility lines. I am attempting to find out the safest way to remove these bushes from these areas. One researcher at the University of Arkansas says if you are NOT replanting a rose bush in that location, to cut it down at ground level and apply herbicide, then watch for suckers and continue to use herbicide each time a sucker shoots up, which could take some time. No one responded or thanked me. My response 5/2/2016 Depending on the rootstock was used on your rose roots, the roots can grow to be 12 feet or more. Some sources estimate underground utilities to be as shallow as 2 feet deep. I am waiting on those exact numbers and will post. Again, it is best to dig up roots from roses infected with rose rosette, and roots can put out suckers as much as 2 years later. If that is just not possible, herbicide is the next best option, but in this case it is not advisable to ever plant another rose in that location.

Please keep in mind that underground utilities should be treated the same as overhead utilities, it is usually best to avoid planting in those areas, If you have planted by utility boxes, or on top of underground utility lines, please keep in mind when utility companies need to work, it is possible for them to cut down your bush/plant/tree/shrub. Planting bushes/plants/trees/shrubs with deep roots or without root barriers can damage underground utilities. People and landscapers do it all the time, that does not mean it is advisable to do so. Also please keep in mind that if you deliberately plant on the property line any bush/plant/tree that overhangs on your neighbor's property line it could cause conflicts, especially if that plant/shrub/tree becomes diseased/dead/obnoxious/etc or you are unable to maintain that plant/tree/shrub/bush/even a fence without constantly going on your neighbors property. Any arrangement you may have with a current homeowner, the next homeowner may not agree to. When planting ANYTHING or putting up fences please keep these things in mind. Again on 5/2/2016 The power company said average 2ft, water company said as little as a foot, and phone company said 18-24 inches. This is why it's very important to call before you dig. I didn't call the cable company, but that is probably similar to the other utilities. 5/11/2016 I assumed it was possible that some haven't dug up their roses because they were waiting on call before you dig. I called call before you dig and they were out that very afternoon and were finished within 2 days.

Last week I put in phone calls to more than one power provider to get information about safe planting and distance from underground utilities.

After consulting with their engineers I was told not to plant anything in front of any transformer box, and do not plant anything within 12 feet from the side or back of any transformer box. I was also told not to plant within 10 feet of the underground utilities that run parallel with the sidewalk.

This information may differ with utility providers. Many find transformer boxes an eyesore and choose to put other people's lives at risk for aesthetic purposes only. If an underground utility is damaged by a root coming in contact with the wire, the plant can conduct electricity. This can seriously injure or kill humans and animals.

May 3: Boxwood blight is a serious problem in the state of Georgia at this time. Quality boxwoods are not cheap plants. I am not sure how many of you have boxwood or if any of you have boxwood but if you have boxwood you should pay attention. Boxwood blight can kill a plant within 2 days. If you have boxwood I suggest you stay on top of things and inspect your plant, and protect your plant the best you can, and ask anyone in the neighborhood who has boxwood to do the same. Plant diseases can and do spread quickly when ignored, that is why it is important to pay attention and act quickly. Look at the link below for more info. Our local cooperative extension office is available should you need more information.
No one bothered to thank me or respond.

May 9: Because so many have failed to remove their rose rosette infected bushes, everyone who has roses not yet infected is playing Russian roulette with their own bushes. Many may not realize exactly how bad rose rosette is, or simply just don't care.
Every time anyone does lawn care with mowers, leaf blowers, or even weed eaters near any infected roses the mites are infecting nearby roses. Even simply taking a walk the mites transport on your clothing infecting other rose bushes.
Even using miticide does not guarantee that uninfected roses are automatically protected. It is beyond discouraging that rose rosette has spread so far and wide in such a small area because many have failed to take notice or action when many roses became infected with rose rosette. Now all everyone with uninfected roses can do is sit back and watch the infected deformed rose rosette infected bushes die. I hope that something will cause people to wake up and do something before every rose bush around here is dead.
I am further disheartened that I have spent time planting and maintaining many uncommon and some extremely hard to obtain roses only to continuously watch almost everyone with rose rosette infected bushes do nothing. I have given away more than a dozen baby rose bushes that I spent time propagating just to get them far away from diseased bushes. I have given up my place in line for several hard to obtain roses because of this outbreak. This outbreak has affected me in a very negative way. I hope everyone will take heed and do the right thing.

The attached photo is of diseased debris that has blown in my yard. No one bothered to thank me or respond

May 10: When someone posted about wanting to earn some extra money I responded with this: Maybe they could make some money digging up rose bushes infected with rose rosette. Just an idea.

May 10:This is an advanced color copy, my printer only prints black and white so that is what will be passed out to everyone. There are 2 versions so those with infected roses with know their roses are infected. IT DOES NOT AFFECT HUMANS! I am unclear on whether or not people think it does. It would appear that few are taking proper action, or fully understand how serious a threat this virus is. I did 5 responses to this post about symptoms and similar pictures, again no one Thanked me or bothered to respond.

May 11: Rose Rosette Fun Fact of the Day Pine pollen can travel by wind up to 1800 miles and still be viable! Think of what little eriophyid mites can do when they only have to go from one rose to another a few houses away. These are the very mites that spread rose rosette!

May 12th: The iconic breakfast cereal Cheerios was introduced in 1941 by General Mills as CheeriOats. This is also the year rose rosette was first identified!

May 13th: Our local Cooperative Extension office has agreed to do a public informative educational presentation about rose rosette sometime soon, hopefully within the next few months to bring more awareness. Hopefully others in our area will be interested in stopping the spread of this virus.

May 13th: Share helpful information posted by one of my neighbors!!

"6. What do you mean by "moderation" and not over posting? Is there a message limit?
There isn't a single answer to this question or a specific message limit. It really depends on the stage of your neighborhood and the tolerance of your neighbors. For example, when neighborhoods are in their early stages with fewer than 50 members, we recognize that a small number of members will do most (and sometimes all) of the posting. But once a neighborhood becomes bigger and more active, it's important that members become more conscious of the dangers of over posting and dominating discussions in a way that frustrates their neighbors or discourages others from posting. In such neighborhoods, members should generally avoid posting more than a couple of posts or comments back-to-back, or initiating multiple threads on the same topic in the main newsfeed. If you see that a majority of the posts and comments are yours, you’re likely over-posting. Meanwhile, if you believe that someone else is over posting, send them a (polite) private message letting them know or post a general message to the newsfeed (without naming anyone specifically) reminding people of this guideline. Additionally, keep in mind that "bumping" a message multiple times to bring it back up to the top of the newsfeed is considered a form of spamming or over posting.
I mean no offense and just want NextDoor to continue to be a helpful resource for our neighborhood. thanks!"
8 Thanks so far!

May 13:  Hazmat suits are worn when dealing with hazardous materials. They're also worn for removal of rose rosette infected bushes in large public gardens!

May 14:  Hairspray is great for keeping your hair in a nice style, but it can also be useful when removing rose rosette infested bushes! Simply spray the rose thoroughly with a standard hairspray before removal to aid in keeping all the mites contained to one bush.

May 14: Another post by the SAME neighbor: MUTE if ever you are having issues with neighbors violating policy and posting the same info daily, you can simply go to their profile, click the 3 dots on the right and click mute. they won't know they've been muted but lol you will
That post was thanked 4 times.

And here we are today. Yesterday someone did dig up infected roses! To me it is a miracle every time it happens. So while most choose to ignore, there are those few who have paid attention. One thing is sure the Grim Reaper of roses is coming for everyone's roses in my neighborhood unless it is stopped.

 edited to add a message from one of my neighbors: "Rose diseases happen. Get over it." So far, this has been thanked twice.

edited to add a message I replied to the last neighbor:
I appreciate your comment of "Rose diseases happen. Get over it."
However, your reaction and others of not wanting to see or hear about a fatal disease that affect everyone in the neighborhood that has roses is appalling. Rose rosette disease is not like other rose diseases that one can go out and buy a spray for, it is FATAL and there is NO CURE for it. One does not get over a fatal plant disease that spreads by the wind when others have failed to take notice, or attempt to stop it, or while there are diseased roses in close proximity.
Muting the conversation or ignoring it is not going to make the fatal disease go away. When I look and see that there are residents in this neighborhood that have diseased roses, and are not considerate enough of their neighbors to take care of the problem it says a lot. I am ashamed to have such uncaring neighbors, I am ashamed that some of my own neighbors have such disrespect for our national flower. Some of you can continue to ridicule me all they want, it will not stop the fact there are diseased roses in this neighborhood, and the problem will not go away on its own.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

My First Encounter with Rose Rosette

  About a month ago, I started my devastating battle with rose rosette. Before that, I was clueless. I thought rose rosette was a myth, and cases were extremely rare. But there it was, in my own garden, contaminating everything. I felt like a deer in the headlights. It couldn't, it wouldn't happen to me.

I was wrong.

  Rose rosette isn't a one in a million disease. It is here, where I am. It's probably where you are. Every time I get in my car to run errands, I notice the telltale signs on the rose bushes at the banks, fast food restaurants, and even shopping malls. It's devastating to see it hurting places you don't care about. But then it decides to strike a bit too close to home.

It was right beside my home. Right in my neighbor's backyard and whole side yard. Huge, bushy knockouts, with sickly canes drooping over the fence, and in turn, in my yard. The first time I noticed it for what it was, I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn't believe it! The moment I walked up the street to go tell them, I noticed it in other yards too. It was hard to believe it then. It couldn't be that everyone, and I do mean everyone, had it. If there was a rose, it had at least two symptoms of rose rosette.

The first thing I had to do was tell the person directly beside me. Perhaps they would take care of it without that much of an issue? Immediately after speaking with them, I knew that wasn't the case. They had Knockouts, and with them, the classic "these don't get disease" attitude. As soon as I informed them, I was met with an "Oh, so that's what that is?" It was obvious they had no plans of removing the infection.

But what about everyone else? Every time the wind blew, their roses were just as much of a risk to the few, if any, uninfected. I'd already had to destroy Silver Shadows, Scept'rd Isle, St. Cecilia, and one that I'd lost the label to about a year ago. I couldn't afford to lose any more, not when I had rare roses at stake. I had to inform them.

So, I printed out the first set of flyers. I'd found an informative handout from online, and spoke to anyone on my street that had roses and would listen. Many gave me the same feeling as the first, as if they didn't care and had no intentions of removing the roses. I still couldn't give up hope.

Then came the second set. These had a black and white photo, and were personally made up to be short, simple, and to the point. This time, the whole neighborhood got one. Not just one street. The roses in other areas were just as bad, and I had noticed very few houses that actually had at least one rose that appeared healthy. This time, I didn't talk to many people, and simply left the flyers for them to read.

A few weeks later, I drove around my neighborhood. The number of houses that did something, I could count on one hand. In a neighborhood of 100+ homes, that's not exactly encouraging. Enter, third set of flyers. These were twice as short, three times as simple, and included a photo taken of sick branches that fell in my yard, along with plenty of information about disposal of infected bushes. Those got passed out, again, to everyone. There was a special edition for people with the disease immediately visible on their roses, mentioning that it appeared theirs had it. As I walked and left them, I noticed that a few houses had trimmed the most visible disease off, or hard pruned. I'd seen the roses before, and they were far beyond the one strike rule.

It's been several days now, too. Nothing else has been done, and I'm worried that every time the wind blows, another rose has a risk of getting rose rosette. I have taken to inspecting my roses daily and panicking every-time I see a red leaf. I am constantly finding infected material in my yard which doesn't help ease my mind.

This is not even scratching the surface of what has transpired over the past month!
Until next time I leave you with the Rose Rosette (Not So) Fun Fact of the Day.

The iconic breakfast cereal Cheerios was introduced in 1941 by General Mills as CheeriOats. This is also the year rose rosette was first identified!