A rose disease has come to Johnson County and experts are encouraging the city and residents to be ready to remove infected plants.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has identified that the fatal rose disease Rose Rosette is making more appearances in Johnson County and the only solution is to eradicate infected rose bushes. This June, City of Cleburne parks staff will remove the roses at Winston Patrick McGregor Park after several rose bushes in the garden have shown signs of the highly infectious disease.
After city staff believed there was Rose Rosette at McGregor Park, the city contacted local AgriLife agent Justin Hale to test and confirm the diagnosis.
Rose Rosette is a deadly and highly contagious pathogen that affects all species of roses. It is spread by microscopic mites that travel through the wind and spread the virus as they feed on plants. Once a rose plant is affected the only solution is to remove the plant and burn or bury it to reduce the virus’s ability to spread. Removing all the roses in the park will help reduce the virus’s ability to spread throughout the community including roses in residents’ yards.
Some Rose Rosette symptoms are visible including excessive and rubbery thorns, long and thick shoots and stems, red leaf color in mature plants, yellowing and stunted plants, witches’ brooms, and more. Once a plant is infected it will most likely die within 2-3 seasons.
Staff is working on plans and designs that maintain the park’s nature and purpose. City staff has consulted with Hale and various master gardeners about future plans. Staff plan to work with the Friends of McGregor Park to develop a plan for replanting of various areas. Staff plans to avoid roses in the near future to prevent having to contend with more Rose Rosette.
Residents may see their roses infected with the disease. For more information about how to properly identify and dispose of infected roses visit RoseRosette.org.