It’s time to prune roses in Oklahoma if you have any not yet stricken by Rose Rosette Virus. If your rose has Rose Rosette, shovel prune that puppy and bag it. Do not put the diseased plant on your compost pile. As of 2015, you cannot save an infected rose no matter what you read from some garden gurus. Instead, look at the science from Oklahoma State University and the University of Arkansas. When I started seeing RRD in my garden in 2009, no one was really talking about this problem. However, Jennifer Olson, Assistant Extension Specialist and Plant Disease Diagnostician at the Cooperative Extension Service, has an excellent slideshow of symptoms of the disease. Scientists are working very hard to find a way to stop RRD, but for now, there isn’t one.
Here’s a quote from a paper on Rose Rosette Disease written by Olson, and Eric Rebek, Associate Professor and State Extension Specialist Horticultural Entomology from the Cooperative Extension Service:
“All landscape roses are susceptible to RRV. There is no cure once a plant is infected. Growers have attempted to remove symptomatic canes by pruning. This is not usually effective because the microscopic mites remain on the plant and recently infected canes may not exhibit symptoms for many months. The best recommendation is to remove and discard symptomatic plants as they appear.”
Gosh, that reads very bleak, doesn’t it? Do everyone in your neighborhood a favor and remove diseased roses. Gardeners can slow down the spread of this thorny problem.
Now, focus on the pretty picture of ‘Darcey Bussell’ and the Virgin Mary, above, and breathe. Count to seven, and let’s move on to pruning, shall we?
Even though I removed many roses from my garden due to Rose Rosette Virus, I still have plenty left. I’ve written loads of posts on pruning roses, but let me add a couple of points. Be sure to spray your pruners with rubbing alcohol between shrubs to prevent any disease from spreading. As a further caution against disease problems, also burn your blade. I use a candle lighter to burn mine. It only takes a few moments. Some people use regular lighters, but I think the candle lighter or flame thrower, as we call it here, is easier to find in my garden bucket. Although we’re being told that you can’t spread Rose Rosette Virus through pruning, we should still be cautious against other diseases. Tool cleanliness is the first way to stop garden problems.
Maybe I’m overdoing it, but who cares? Better safe than sorry. I want to be one gardener who is able to keep some of her roses. How many do I have left? I don’t really know, but I’ll count them as I prune and report back.
So many rose posts over the seven years I’ve blogged. Grab a cup of something warm and have fun playing link tag if you decide to dive in. Here are five roses to charm anyone’s garden. There are so many more too. This will be my second spring to grow ‘South Africa,’ and I hope we have years of good growing together.
I know the weather prognosticators are predicting snow for next week’s forecast, so wait until after this next blast to prune. That way you won’t expose tender canes recently cut. If your roses have broken dormancy, they will freeze back some. It won’t hurt them that much. They will come out of it.
Bill just vacuumed up the solid mat of oak leaves from my front border, and I need to replace them with the shredded leaves in my pile that slowly rot, protecting plant roots and enriching the soil. Guess what I’ll be doing on Valentine’s Day? Shredded leaves are the mulch I use most often although I also like pecan hulls and shredded pine bark too. Pecan hulls are especially pretty in the side rose bed, but don’t go out there with bare feet. It’s worse than stepping on Legos in the middle of the night.
My roses are already breaking dormancy so it’s a little past time to prune for my garden. Do you find, like me, that there is never enough time in late winter/early spring to finish all the chores the garden demands?
Just remember this–in June, work slows down unless you grow daylilies and need to deadhead them each day, but that’s light work. Well, there’s weeding too. Like dirty dishes, weeding is always part of gardening. With roses, pruning is different from deadheading too. Try to look at deadheading and weeding as meditation or garden keeping, and maybe, they won’t seem like such a chore.
I’ve always felt like pruning roses is a bit like parenting teenagers. Now that I’m parenting my youngest teen, I maintain the truth of my previous post. It’s a thorny business–pun intended–but the results are priceless. I’ll see you in the garden.