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


  1. HOAs are awful! hope you're able to reason with them, or get out of there!!!!

  2. Sounds like they do not care at all.

  3. I hate your HOA and I don't even have to deal with it!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. What do you expect, they're a HOA! They only want your money!

  6. That sounds like a bad HOA.

  7. The HOA is not there for a peaceful neighborhood. They are there to be your big brother and tell you what to do and take your money. Yes they try to sell dreams to get you to buy the house, but soon the honeymoon is over. You should move out quick as you can.