Officials Say Rose Rosette Disease Epicenter is in North Texas

Officials say thousands of rosebushes in North Texas have been affected by a disease that leaves them with puckered leaves, deformed buds and thorn-covered stems.

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens senior horticulturist Steve Huddleston said rose rosette disease arrived in North Texas three years ago, but this year has been particularly difficult. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported disease has no cure and is spread by mites.

Gardeners at the Botanic Gardens have ripped up and replaced hundreds of diseased rosebushes in the Rose Garden. More than 5,400 rosebushes in medians and parks in suburban Southlake have been removed and replaced.

Dallas Arboretum vice president Dave Forehand said that rose rosette is an "epidemic," and that "North Texas is the epicenter."

According to Huddleston, crews have to constantly keep an eye out because dealing with the disease has been an uphill battle. "You plant a bush and four months later have to rip it out. The disease is everywhere," Huddleston said.

Homeowners in Collin County are dealing with Rose Rosette Disease, too. The Rose Rosette Eradication Alliance was formed to help spread the word about the virus.

Claude Graves is a member. He said Collin County may be seeing the worse of the disease since so many people grow roses.

"It is a huge, huge problem,” Graves said. “It is a problem to the extent that if we don't get this under control we will not be able to grow roses in the Dallas area."


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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