Rose Rosette Disease

Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) is a devastating disease of roses. It makes the rose unsightly because of abnormal growth of the rose plant tissue. Symptoms such as witches’ brooms, excessive thorniness, enlarged canes, malformed leaves and flowers are associated with this disease. This disease has been reported since the early 1940s but only in 2011 did research demonstrate that it is caused by a virus, aptly named the Rose Rosette Virus (RRV). Diagnosis of RRD prior to 2011 was primarily done based on observed symptoms and the presence of the eriophyid mite that is believed to be the vector of RRV. In recent years, this disease problem appears to be a growing issue as more and more cultivated roses are used in landscapes. At this time, all roses are believed to be susceptible on some level to the disease. Recent funding from the Specialty Crops Research Initiative program is allowing research into this disease with the goal of developing roses that are resistant to RRD.