Q: Our roses were installed four years ago. The floribunda roses have what we been told is rosette virus. We have been told to uproot these roses and discard. Would we have to do anything special to the soil before adding new plants?
A: I think the diagnosis is correct.
The disease causes very red foliage and stems, copious thorns, “witch’s broom” at branch ends and eventual death of the plant. It seems to be spread by tiny mites that travel on the wind. The only cure for it is to pull out and destroy affected plants.
Since the disease is not soil-borne, you could replace the plants with other floribunda roses from a reliable nursery. Other shrubs to consider include ‘Little Henry’ sweetspire, Japanese spirea, and ‘Kaleidoscope’ abelia.
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