Mites are.little microscopic creatures which serve no purpose whatsoever, other than to cause turf managers, landscapers, and homeowners to despair. Now Rose bushes in Carolina and other areas of the country are being attacked and even killed by the Rose Rosette Virus, which is spread by the tiny eriophyrid mites from plant to plant. “The disease alters the growth habits and form of the rose,” said Steve Huddleston, senior horticulturalist for the Dallas Arboretum, which has had no roses since 2015. “It results in a phenomenon called witch’s broom, where the ends of the branches get shortened and twisted close together like a broom.” Even if plants do survive, they are weakened and more likely to develop other problems which could kill the Roses. In my case, two large plants were affected last year, and after some pruning, not much is left other than one small flower for now.
There is not much a homeowner can do to prevent Rose Rosette Virus, other than removing and destroying infected plants. Applying a dormant oil monthly may help somewhat with controlling mites. Planting Roses with other shrubs in the landscape spaced in between them may help cut back on infection by separating the plants.
For more complete information on Rose Rossete Disease, CLICK HERE for a good fact sheet.from Oklahoma State University.