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Not good news, at all...

August 8, 2018

From the latest meeting of the National Clean Plant Network for Roses,

"Christian Bedard of Weeks Roses announced they've had RRD in their fields in Wasco, CA since 2014.

There is some indication they may have inadvertently shipped infected materials up to this point.

It is now public knowledge.

They are mitigating and isolating infected materials and doing their best to make certain no more infected material is delivered.

There is at least a 3-4 month incubation period. "

The previous information about the out break in the Weeks fields in Wasco was, shall we say, "incomplete". The potential exists that not only infected plants were shipped to all areas of the country, but also potentially infected bud wood to other commercial producers...

Comments (87)

  • shebabee

    So--dare I ask--what are they doing NOW to try to limit the damage and to inform and educate their customers and the public? Are they making any sort of outreach to them about this situation, and what they should be vigilant for? Because I see nothing at all about this matter on their website, or their FBook page, which isn't a big surprise, but surely there should be??!

    In fact--the ONLY mention of RRD that I find is THIS, from the catalog link on their website:

    NEW FOR 2018 / JOIN THE RESISTANCE / TOP GUN(TM) / ELITE DISEASE-RESISTANT SHRUB ROSE / WEEKS ROSE RESEARCH DEPARTMENT POMONA, CALIF: Arm your garden with the latest weapon on Rose Rosette & all major rose diseases along with beautiful color and outstanding performance & bloom production.

    roseseek thanked shebabee
  • roseseek

    I would guess they are in severe damage control mode. The business entity is fighting for its survival and apparently doing all they can to control the infection.

  • jerijen

    ""NEW FOR 2018 / JOIN THE RESISTANCE / TOP GUN(TM) / ELITE DISEASE-RESISTANT SHRUB ROSE / WEEKS ROSE RESEARCH DEPARTMENT POMONA, CALIF: Arm your garden with the latest weapon on Rose Rosette & all major rose diseases along with beautiful color and outstanding performance & bloom production.""

    **** HOLY COW! Why don't they just sell little bottles of mites to release in your garden!!!???

  • roseseek

    But wait, Top Gun is as responsible for the RRD outbreak as Dr. Huey is for RMV transmission through the industry. In someone's initial observations, Top Gun appeared to resist infection. That appears to have been somewhere back east, out of California, where there is RRD. It was material, reportedly Top Gun, brought back from out of state and stupidly mis handled here that brought it into Wasco. That could just as easily have been ANY other rose. Dr. Huey just happened to be the preferred root stock when RMV infection began becoming an issue. Had it been Fortuniana, Ragged Robin, multiflora or any other, then that rose would have the bad rap of "being responsible". Neither is "responsible" due to an inherent failing of the specific rose. Both happened to have been the misfortunate vectors in the issues. Both are very likely decent roses where they are suitable and for those who find them desirable. The fault for RMV lies with those "businessmen" who put ease and profits over quality of product. The RRD fault lies with the either ignorant or stupid people handling that infected material. What they chose to do could have been due to either (or both) the ignorance or stupidity of the specific people and/or the economic realities of possibly having no where else to handle the material. Not having anywhere else to deal with the material is NOT an acceptable excuse. If there was no where else, with the knowledge we have about the disease, the company should never have accepted it. No matter who the responsible people turn out to be, whomever made the decision to house potentially RRD infected material ANYWHERE it might possibly infect other stock deserves to be fired and potentially held legally liable for the industry costs. There is no way anyone outside of the industry will ever be compensated for any losses due to this event, but you can be sure there will be legal remedies sought by those companies who are now economically injured by it.

  • stillanntn6b

    There was a meeting in 1994 about Rose Rosette sponsored by Iowa State and co sponsored by some rose companies.
    I was loaned a copy of the proceedings; I shared it with Baldo. There are lots of articles about related diseases.

    The last two pages are by Dr. Charlene Harwood, then working for Jackson and Perkins, who strongly suggested that funds be set aside to pay damages after the disease spread, as she said it would.

    If anyone were to start lawyering up, contacting her about her experiences at that meeting would be a place to start.

    roseseek thanked stillanntn6b
  • Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)

    I was just thinking about Jackson and Perkins. Their roses are from Weeks, right?

    Well, I try to find out which retailers are selling roses that is actually link to Weeks .You can't do the search now. No information is popping up at all . I hope it is not here in FL. Rose week is one of the biggest supplier so I am curious and wondering if any are here. Who are the retailers and what are they doing with the roses ? I hope they are getting rid of them properly.


    roseseek thanked Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)
  • roseseek

    Jin, you can research who created and introduced a particular rose by looking it up either on Help Me Find-Roses or by Googling the name of the rose, such as "Rosa Surreal". If Weeks created and/or introduced it, then propagating material for it would have come from them. I doubt any others selling the rose would be maintaining mother plants of those roses to supply their own propagating material as that would be duplicating Weeks' efforts, require more room and resources/people and cost more than buying the wood each season. Of course I could be mistaken, but economically, it makes better sense to either buy the bud wood and bud your own or simply buy the plants from Weeks and resell them. Either way, they came from Weeks. If a source is selling varieties which originated at Weeks, most likely those specific plants were produced by Weeks. Garden Centers, wholesale growers and big box stores are going to buy their plants from whomever can produce what they want in the quantities they want and for the price point they want. Go shop the home improvement stores and you will see many Weeks tags. It's the same with all the larger nurseries. Being in Florida, you may not find as many due to their being budded on Fortuniana, but the bud wood for any Weeks roses would have come from Weeks.

  • Kippy
    Kim, do you know if Weeks has an educational program for RRD for the west coast? (And well the rest of the world that used to not have it)
    roseseek thanked Kippy
  • Lisa Adams

    This makes me sick, and afraid. I’m also wondering the same thing as Lilyfinch. Would spraying with miticide do any good at all, especially on newly purchased roses? Lisa

  • roseseek

    I don't know, Carol. I haven't looked and from what I am reading here and elsewhere, I doubt it. I don't see anything on their web site about it. If anyone wonders just what roses they produced this year, here is where to find out. Not just what they originated, but MANY older types you are going to find everywhere...

  • roseseek

    Lisa, what I am reading is no, don't spray miticides. There are mites which eat the ones responsible for spreading the disease and they are the ones first affected. The ones you want to control aren't as easy to kill as the beneficials.

  • Lisa Adams

    Thanks Kim, that’s unfortunate, but good to know. Lisa

  • roseseek

    You're welcome, Lisa.

  • henry_kuska

    There is a post by Professor Larry Davis in the Rose Hybridizers Forum that I recommend reading.


  • roseseek

    Oh, boy...WEK, the code name for you know who... "supposed infected material is being dumped..." I heard many reports last year and earlier this year from nurseryman friends about stock infected with crown gall being sold quickly so it died on customers and not on the nurseries. That was bad enough, but this? Not that it is a guaranty this IS the case, but unfortunately, I don't put anything past any corporation anymore.

  • BenT (8a Dallas, TX)

    Was it Weeks that purportedly sold crown gall infected stock? I have a Weeks branded Lady in Red that I bought 5 months ago that has crown gall.

  • roseseek

    No Ben, but they may have bought plugs from some of those other mass growers. Why root your own when you can buy mass quantities of them inexpensively?

  • BenT (8a Dallas, TX)

    I wanted to address the use of Miticides. I had heard a talk from Dr Mark Windham where he trialed various miticides/insecticides for 3 seasons, and groups using 4 of the miticides did not develop RRD, (while the control sample, neem, and other insecticides/ miticides did all develop RRD).

    I know Forbid 4F was one of the 4 miticides that was successful in the trial. I believe both Avid and Floramite were not successful.

    The below article alludes to the results.


    “The miticide trial was more successful. Plants sprayed on 14-day intervals with miticides did not develop symptoms of RRD, and by the end of year three of the experiment, all the plants from the control group had developed RRD symptoms. There was initial concern that the use of miticides could make matters worse by killing spider mites, a potential predator of the vector mite, but that has not become an issue yet.

    The researchers still have many questions to answer about the potential of using miticides to stop RRD. Efficacy trials are underway for miticides that weren’t part of the initial trial, and Windham says they’re currently looking at application rate and timing for the miticides that worked.”

    roseseek thanked BenT (8a Dallas, TX)
  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas

    This is a horrific state of affairs. One of my biggest pleasures was seeing the new roses introduced and deciding which to order. It appears that ordering from JP is asking for trouble. I realize this is a "hot" question, but now I am afraid to order. Are there any companies it is safe to order from? I am looking so forward to ordering Dame Judi Dench from David Austin. What about their stock? I have talked with a rose nursery owner about this and it appears so far reaching it is very frightening. Don't know if I should order anything. Any opinions on this? Celestial Night, Arctic Blue were a couple I really liked but am afraid to get.


  • jerijen

    Alameda -- I am in the fortunate position of really not needing to order more roses. (I would order a budded 'Prospero' from Austin -- but I don't want a virused plant. Picky, I know.)

    I might, if I thought they'd be honest, ask the Austin people if they have any Weeks roses in their collection. If you really think they don't, I might order from them.

    For the next 3-4 years, I would not buy any roses from Weeks, J&P, et al. But that's me.

  • BenT (8a Dallas, TX)

    J&P responded 8/16/2018 to the RRD at Weeks Issue on another Gardenweb thread. I am quoting it below just as FYI and as a point of discussion:

    “Hello again everyone!

    Rose rosette disease was discovered on less than 100 rose plants in the Weeks growing fields in spring of 2017. Weeks took and has since taken extreme steps to destroy any diseased plants and to prevent the disease from spreading further. We have been assured by officials at Weeks Roses that this issue is behind them and that there is no current risk of rose rosette in their crops.

    Jackson & Perkins guarantees all our roses to be high quality, true to type, shipped properly, and to perform as advertised.

    Please don't hesitate to reach out with any further questions you may have! We are always happy to assist.



    The full thread is here:


  • stillanntn6b

    "Fewer than 100" is a heck of a lot of rose bushes.

    And, I will quibble, nowhere does J&P guarantee that their roses be free of RRD/RRv.

    roseseek thanked stillanntn6b
  • roseseek

    Plus, Christian Bedard, of WEEKS, admitted officially to the Clean Plant meeting they have had it in their fields since 2014, a full three years earlier than the J&P smoke they are trying to blow up our collective backsides. AND,they may have "inadvertently" spread it around the world since then.

  • jerijen

    Beside all that, RRD is very very contagious, and the incubation period could be as long as 3--4 years. So, you don't know how many plants those 100 plants infected, before they were removed.

    How much of a gambler are you?

    I'm in my 70's.

    I'd like not to spend my final years yanking diseased, contagious roses out of my hillside.

  • henry_kuska


    – June 27, 2018




    8:30 am

    Mark Windham and
    Kevin Ong

    Rose Rosette
    Disease – Major threat to the industry

    9:00 am

    Christian Bedard

    Weeks situation –
    discovery and management of a RRD infection

    See: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=37&ved=2ahUKEwiVy4rL7PLcAhXEGDQIHepCAWAQFjAkegQIShAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnationalcleanplantnetwork.org%2Ffiles%2F284219.docx&usg=AOvVaw0WnspjqGCsALPm9OZwUefO

    H.Kuska comment: since the National Clean Plant program is federally funded, I would expect that the contents of Bedard's talk would be made available to the public.

  • Kristine LeGault 8a pnw

    Remember last year when I posted that I thought my Weeks Dick Clark had RRD ? I even called the extension service and they had no idea what I was talking about. Anyway this summer with no further evidence of RRD, I bagged it and tossed it. Now that I know anout the problems in Wasco , I think I may have been right

    roseseek thanked Kristine LeGault 8a pnw
  • roseseek

    Ouch! I am so sorry.

  • jerijen

    Oh, I'm sorry too. But that's just the sort of thing I would expect to happen with this. DAMN.

    And yeah, we've already discovered that our county ag services not only don't know what RRD is -- they also don't give a rat's rear.

    They ALSO don't know about Chilli Thrips -- which is appalling, since THAT is also an agricultural problem.

    roseseek thanked jerijen
  • stillanntn6b

    Heck, the multiple plant hosts of Chilli Thrips would make one think that education of the ag community would be on top of the situation. There are many good resources coming out of Florida about Chilli Thrips; their lists of host plants will, however, give you nightmares.

    roseseek thanked stillanntn6b
  • jerijen

    But you know, I tried to tell them that, and all they're interested in is Asian Citrus Psyllid. It's distressing to see our agricultural industry here so poorly served.

    roseseek thanked jerijen
  • roseseek

    ALL areas are. They are only interested in the latest boogie man officially harped upon by the guy in charge. Just wait until that guy in charge learns of Chilli Thrips. They're going to need a skip loader to clean the office.

  • stillanntn6b

    I've complained elsewhere about how much rain we've had this year. Now we're up to over 60 inches, including four inches in the last five days. And I am seeing RRD move into and through roses faster than ever before.

    I used to think that drought made the vector mites move more aggressively; now I'm wondering if abundant soil moisture causes the virus to move through the plants more rapidly. If so, this is really bad news for growers who keep their soil moisture up by massive irrigation systems. Like Wasco.

    roseseek thanked stillanntn6b
  • vaporvac

    Jeez Ann, that's depressing. We just had 5 in in 24 hours! I guess I better keep a close eye on those Weeks' roses I got from Spring Hill.

  • hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

    My own root 'Top Gun' looks perfectly healthy, but I wonder if I should dig it up tomorrow and seal it in a bag and throw it out. Sheesh. All the very few Weeks roses I've bought the past three years or so have been very poor plants. No sign of RRD, but they just have not grown. Water, fertilizer...and nothing happens.

  • roseseek

    If they were purchased prior to 2014, you may be in the clear. If not, that's up to you.

  • jerijen

    Kim -- I tried mentioning Chilli Thips.

    They reiterated the advice that I should go talk to Master Gardeners. #@@$%$#@@!@!!!

    roseseek thanked jerijen
  • roseseek

    I'm sorry, I can't "like" that. Not to disparage anyone here, but my experience with "Master Gardeners" is, shall we say, "unsatisfying"?

  • jerijen

    I told her that local Master Gardeners were more likely to ask me if I'd heard about problems. SILENCE.

    They -- County Ag -- take refuge in the information that they are really there to deal with agricultural crops.

    Which SHOULD make them very concerned about Chilli Thrips -- but, no . . .

    I'm really disgusted.

    roseseek thanked jerijen
  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR

    I agree some of these folks are not up to speed. There seem to be a lot of people exhibiting ignorance these days.

  • henry_kuska

    Formal new 2019 research publication on finding rose rosette virus in California


    " The RRV genomes from the two nursery plants sampled in 2017 shared 100% nt identity to one another. The RRV genomes from the three homeowner plants sampled in 2018 shared 100% nt identity to one another but not to the nursery samples (nursery versus homeowner showed 98% nt identity). "

  • stillanntn6b

    In that all too brief disease "note", the understatement of the decade

    " Further studies will be necessary to assess the relevance and potential threat of this virus to the garden rose nursery industry in California. "

    roseseek thanked stillanntn6b
  • Stephanie, 9b inland SoCal
    The Rose Rosette Disease and/or the mite that transfers it, Phyllocoptes fructiphilus, have been found in California on occasion since 1939.
    However, this newest report of widespread infection in the nursery trade is very concerning!
    This is a time when I wish I had gone into plant disease microbiology (my second choice) instead of marine microbiology. I might have been in a position to help find a solution to this problem. There are some powerful new molecular tools such as CRISPER that could potentially render any current strain of rose resistant to the Rose Rosette Virus if a gene or suite of genes conferring resistance is first found. It appears that the next step is to run trials to find disease resistant roses and determine which genes make them resistant. Unfortunately, from rose trials to a solution could take decades. It will also take some grant funding.
  • stillanntn6b

    What scares me (and has for as long as I've been following RRD) is that there are so many similar diseases out there, and some are in really important food crops. From Pigeon Peas on the Indian subcontinent to dates in the Middle East to wheat and corn on our Great Plains, I can see real serious funding going to them first. It has to the wheat and corn, and no solutions so far as I've seen.

    At some point roses and redbuds and Pawlonia trees and peaches in Mexico might have the power to attract big money, but not now. Starvation can, rightly, go to the head of the line.

    Just preserving the diverse germplasm of roses should, in my opinion, be of utmost importance. And that isn't being done.

    roseseek thanked stillanntn6b
  • kingcobbtx7b

    Sorry to hear about your issues with the extension service. Unless they have a horticulture agent in the office, most countcounty agents tend to be more focused on livestock/row crop areas. Some agents beanch out into the horticulture side, but most Ag agents are not hired by their bosses with an emphadis on horticulture. Sadly most agents aren't aware oof or concerned about RRD. Roses are a small part of what they deal with. It shouldn't be that way but it is. Agents have to wear a lot of hats, some do a better job than others. At the very least they should have been willing to contact someone on the state level that could help you. am surprised they aren't aware of chilli thrips, we are plenty aware of them coming.

    As for the subject of this, I am not ready to go witch hunting weeks quite yet. Until I get more details I will keep my pitchfork in the hay barn.

  • kingcobbtx7b

    On a different matter I have spoken with some of the people involved in the extension research study in Texas, Oklahoma and other states and they have been very positive about the progress they have made already in RRD resistance. I don't have any details, but it seems to be moving faster then they anticipated.

  • Stephanie, 9b inland SoCal
    Actually the fact that there are similar viruses and mites that infect important food crops means that the RRD can sometimes get caught in the net of their research projects. Here is a paper that compares quite a few of the known Emaraviruses, which RRV is one of them. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hans-Peter_Muehlbach/publication/233739034_Emaravirus_A_Novel_Genus_of_Multipartite_Negative_Strand_RNA_Plant_Viruses/links/0deec5271328449661000000/Emaravirus-A-Novel-Genus-of-Multipartite-Negative-Strand-RNA-Plant-Viruses.pdf
  • kingcobbtx7b

    She is talking about county agents. Very few of them do research of anykind outside of doing result demonstrations or helping a specialist/research person collect data.

    Again, most county ag agents, especially in nonurban counties deal very little with roses unless they have a horiculture interest.

  • Stephanie, 9b inland SoCal
    Wonderful to hear about the Texas research extension’s progress. I just looked them up and found this article from a couple years ago that shows they were working on the RRD problem in 2015 and anticipated then that it would be 5-10 years before new RRD resistant rose varieties would be on the market. https://today.agrilife.org/2015/09/03/nations-researchers-team-up-to-improve-protect-roses/ Also this exciting excerpt from this article: (“With this technology, maybe we could essentially transform all the rose varieties to those that are resistant to disease — and not just well known diseases such as black spot but also to upcoming diseases such as rose rosette.” The emerging malady, rose rosette, has become such a devastating disease in many states that a second, five-year national research effort by some 20 scientists is targeting that disease specifically, said Byrne, who is leading the breeding component of that project. “In this second project, we are also developing markers in trying to understand the rose rosette resistance, which we don’t know much about at the moment,” he said. “The first step is doing a lot of screening for rose rosette resistance.” ). But they seem to be talking mainly about breeding new rose varieties that are resistant to the RRD virus. If you want to insert the RRD resistant gene(s) into an old established rose variety then a technology like CRISPER will be needed. Also that old rose may need to be amenable to growing as a cell culture in a Petri dish, at least for the gene insertion event. I am guessing that since the Rosa genus is very genetically diverse, some roses will be much more amenable than others to Petri dish growth. I remember reading years ago, when I was a grad student, how they removed rose mosaic virus from established old rose varieties when no disease free strains could be found. They grew the plant under high heat stress to reduce the viruses vigor. Then they took plant tissue from the faster growing tips of the rose that the virus hadn’t reached yet and put these cells into a petri dish with a sterile medium, nutrients and growth hormones. From these few cells they regrew a mature plant without the viral infection. If only it were this easy for RRD.
  • jerijen

    That process is not foolproof.

  • vaporvac
    • Yes, the problem is finding the rose truly resistant to RRD. The current debacle seems to be a result of thinking they'd found..... that and a good dose of hubris!

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