Sunday, September 15, 2019

Southlake Roses Infected with the Rose Rosette Disease

rose rosette

Rose bush with Rose Rosette disease

Many of Southlake’s roses are currently under siege by a viral disease called Rose Rosette. Thousands of roses in City parks, medians, neighborhoods and Southlake Town Square are suffering from the disease. The City maintains an estimated 4,000 roses, and many have been affected by Rose Rosette.

The disease is carried by a microscopic mite that wind spreads throughout the community. There is no known cure for this disease, except to remove the roses. All types of roses are susceptible to Rose Rosette.

“In an effort to prevent the disease from spreading, the City of Southlake is no longer planting roses,” said Community Services Director Chris Tribble.  “Southlake Parks Staff will will replace all roses with appropriate plant material using a phased approach.”

Southlake resident, Diana Pospisil, a member of the Perennial Garden Society and lifetime gardener, has assisted the City in determining the next steps necessary to control the disease. Pospisil and other experts believe that once the plant has Rose Rosette, it will die within three to four years.

Southlake residents and community members are encouraged to examine their roses, looking for signs of Rose Rosette. Look for the following symptoms when determining if your plants have been affected:

  • Leaves and twigs produced are a bright, rich, red color.
  • Leaves are distorted and twisted.
  • There may be a proliferation of leaves.
  • The stems grow slowly and produce excessive thorns.
  • There may be so many thorns that there is no stem available to be seen and the thorns are often red-tinged.

Residents are encouraged to remove infected roses from their property so the disease does not continue to multiply.  To remove roses, cut the canes as carefully as you can to avoid shaking the mites into the air. After the canes are cut, chop them up and place them in plastic bags to throw away. If the infected rose and all its roots are removed, experts suggest waiting three years before planting another rose.

There are many plants that residents can use to replace their roses.  Lorapetalums (fringe flower), abelias, salvia greggis (autumn sage), and indian hawthorns are good blooming evergreens that come in many colors and sizes. Junipers, hollies and nandinas are non-blooming evergreens that make excellent foundation plantings and add year-round enjoyment. Some easy favorites are: grasses, summer phlox, purple coneflower, black-eyed susan, salvias, asters and perennial hibiscus.

For more information about the disease, please read the article written by Melody Rose. Learning to identify Rose Rosette is the first step toward eradicating the disease. For more information please call Southlake Community Services at (817) 748-8219.