Multiflora Rose Serves As Host For Rose Rosette Disease

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(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Yesterday I started telling you about the fatal Rose Rosette Disease. While so far, our native roses appear to be immune to it, the trouble is that almost all of the pretty ornamental roses we grow in our gardens aren’t native to the USA, they originally came from Europe and Asia.

One alien plant in particular, Multiflora rose, was used as hardy rootstock to help tender ornamental roses survive here.

Unfortunately, that hardy Multiflora rose became a noxious weed in the US. It has long arching, whip-like canes and nasty thorns – people often just call it a ‘pricker bush’ since its curved grabbing thorns are much more memorable than its clusters of small white flowers that bloom in early summer. Multiflora rose shrubs are usually about 6 to 8 feet tall but can grow as high as 15 feet.

It was already a weed problem, invading gardens and natural areas, but now, it’s also known to be the host plant for Rose Rosette Disease. The mites carrying the virus can easily blow from a Multiflora rose bush in your yard or neighborhood onto your prized roses!

So you want to search for and destroy, dig out or cut down any Multiflora rose plants on your property to get rid of a weed you hate while removing this threat to the roses you love.

Look at the photo of a Multiflora rose in flower here, then check NPS.gov and InvasiveSpeciesInfo.gov to learn more about how to identify it so you can remove it and help stop the spread of Rose Rosette Disease.

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