Heirloom Climbing Roses – Rose Rosette Disease
Q: I’ve enjoyed my beautiful heirloom climbing roses for years. My neighbors planted red Knockout roses adjacent three years ago. Now my roses have begun to morph into something ugly. The bush is being taken over by gnarly, thick, red-tinted stems with thistle-like leaves that produce deformed blotchy pink blooms. I’m thinking cross-pollination with the Knockouts caused it.
A: The ugliness might have come from your neighbor’s Knockouts but it would not be transmitted by pollen. I think your rose has rose rosette disease, which is a virus. It’s spread from plant to plant by tiny mites. Unfortunately, it is incurable. I have plenty of details about the disease and lots of pictures at bit.ly/GArosette1.