What is rose rosette disease?
Rose rosette disease (RRD) is a mite transmitted viral, or virus-like, disease that is a danger to all ornamental roses. It is contagious and almost always results in the death of the rose. The worst thing about RRD for rose growers is its random nature, and that it cannot be prevented. Infection can drop onto a rose on a puff of wind, and the symptoms may not appear for weeks or months. If we recognize symptoms early, we can respond quickly to minimize impact.
RRD has often been described in scientific literature as a potential biological method of weed control for Rosa multiflora. With help from the USDA and states, 'R. multiflora' has been remarkably successful getting established in the central and eastern United States since the 1930's. In doing so, it and other wild roses have provided a perfect reservoir population to harbor this disease and enabled its spread. It must be pointed out, however, that RRD is by no means limited to 'R. multiflora'.