The mid-west and southern regions of the country are experiencing a surge in Rose Rosette disease due to the fact that Knockout roses have become a huge part of commercial and home landscaping. A monoculture of roses has emerged as a result of the popularity of the new Knockouts and this plus the proliferation of the multifloras has created a perfect storm for Rose Rosette. Last year the Schenectady Rose Garden found the virus in a few plants and a recent article in the Gazette (July 2) stated that it has been found again this year in that garden and it is suspected in the Yaddo Gardens in Saratoga.
There are no chemical controls for this disease or effective miticides available to homeowners so be vigilant and keep a close eye on your roses. A good offence is the best defensive against this disease so maintain the health of your roses, disinfect tools religiously and water from the base during dry spells to discourage disease and mites. Removal of all invasive Multiflora roses within 300 feet of your garden is also recommended. A prayer or two won’t hurt, either!