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South Regional Reports

Rose Rosette Disease: Should You Abandon Roses Altogether? | South Regional Report

Rose bushes affected by RRD have reddish, thorny foliage. Photo: Alan Windham

Roses (Rosa spp. and cvs., Zones 3-9)might be a candidate for the favorite plant of people who don’t garden. The last interaction with a rose most of these people had was in long-stem form accompanying chocolates. But those are not the roses most gardeners interact with in the South. Sure, there are die-hard hybrid tea rose gardeners fighting the good fight in their gardens. However, all the most popular roses of the last decade are shrub roses. Shrub roses tend to be lower maintenance and fast growing and to have long-lasting flower power. Gardeners’ desires have trended toward shrub roses because of these traits. So the story goes on, with many gardeners still very interested in what many consider the queen of the garden.

Most good stories have an antagonist, however, and for roses in general that foe is rose rosette disease (RRD). Many of the other pests…

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