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

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

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