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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What if all your roses DIED? Don’t panic, but pay attention. There’s a devastating disease threatening roses – yup, even those reliably rugged ‘Knock-Out®’ roses you see everywhere, they can get it too.

Rose Rosette Disease is a virus carried by a microscopic mite. Early symptoms of the disease (seen in the photo), which often appear this time of year, are odd growth patterns – thick rosettes of stems, excessive thorns and elongated leaves that are frequently very red – which later develop into what’s called a ‘witch’s broom.’

Currently, there is no cure. So, experts warn you to be vigilant. Cut out any infected canes below the diseased part before it can spread; and/or dig out the entire rose bush, bag it and put it in the trash; NOT in your personal nor community compost.

Heavy pruning in late winter can also help – cutting each of your healthy rose plants down to half or a third of its height.

For now, constant monitoring and quick surgery are your best weapons, along with eliminating the plant that hosts the virus, a nasty weed shrub called Multiflora rose. You’ll find more on that at Philadelphia.CBSLocal.com.

Vist StarRosesAndPlants.com to learn even more about Rose Rosette Disease symptoms so you’ll know what to look for.

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