Should we Grow Roses?
By Greg Church, Ph.D., County Extension Agent for Horticulture
The rose is a special plant that is irreplaceable in the landscape. Its flowers are cherished by all, and many varieties add color and form to the landscape. There are questions about whether or not we should grow roses in Collin County. The epidemic of rose rosette disease has brought much heartache to gardeners. Many have chosen to responsibly remove diseased plants, while others ignore that a problem exists. Even some offer false hope that they have a cure, but at what cost?
The Earth-Kind® Environmental Stewardship Program has dedicated decades of researching rose varieties that are disease and insect-resistant, drought-tolerant, and require no fertilizer when using the Earth-Kind Soil Management System. Unfortunately, in many counties in North Texas, rose rosette disease started to spread rapidly and infect many Earth-Kind Roses. There is no long-term research on whether or not any cultivated varieties of roses are resistant to the Rose Rosette Virus or the eriophyid mites that transmit the disease.
So without a cure, without resistant varieties, and with intense disease pressure, should we grow roses in Collin County? Anyone who plants roses should be aware of the risks of those plants becoming infected, and should be responsible enough to dispose of any rose plant that becomes infected. As a plant pathologist trying to manage a disease on a widespread basis, I prefer that we focus on removing infected plants, rather than jumping the gun on replacement roses. Considering the amount of infected roses that seem to be present in every neighborhood and near every street corner, we are far from being a safe place to grow roses. If we could magically remove all infected roses from the region, I would feel much better about our prospects of safely growing roses.
Regardless of my professional opinion, gardeners and landscapers will insist on growing roses. If you are one of those fearless gardeners, then you should make plans to attend the next Rose Rosette Seminar on April 9th at 9 a.m. at the Allen City Hall. The presenters will be Mark Windham, professor of Ornamental Pathology at the University of Tennessee, and Pam Smith, parks landscape manager for the City of Farmers Branch. The presentation will focus on how to grow roses responsibly with the threat of rose rosette disease. Make plans to attend this free event. Register online at http://collin.agrilife.org/events/
ROSE ROSETTE SEMINAR
Saturday, April 9, 2016 — 9:00-10:30 a.m.
Allen City Hall’s City Council Chamber
305 Century Parkway, Allen, TX 75013
SEMINARS AND EDUCATION
Visit our Rose Rosette video page to view a variety of helpful videos and presentations about this disease.