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Here we go again: is this RRD?

I know I must be obnoxious with all the questions this season but here's a worrisome one again: could this be RRD?

About a year and a half ago (in the Fall) I suspected a couple of my roses of RRD.

So I took out Dick Clark and Julia Child. Right at that time I was also growing in pots some small Sweet Drift bands I had gotten from Etsy, and they were in the same area.

A year and a half later some of them show worrisome signs. These Drifts are currently suffering from powdery mildew too but this growth looks a lot more problematic than just PM.

I cut this weird growth.

Should I take them out? In other words: Oh, Lord here we go again.

Comments (31)

  • last month

    And these are off another Sweet Drift which I added to a pot with the Fairy last fall.

    Good grief.

    If you say there's the slightest chance this is RRD (which it looks like that to me), then I am taking them out now.

    I didn't think the Drifts would get RDD but it looks like they can. At least my Corals look OK. Urgh.

  • last month

    Mass municipal plantings of drift roses that get RRD and are left unchecked is a major issue in susceptible areas from what I’ve heard. I can’t remember if it was this forum or another but I saw a thread where folks were posting pictures of parking lot plantings and lane dividers that were entirely diseased, it was horrifying. Which is to say drift roses certainly are not immune, as far as I am aware no rose is.

    With that said, this looks more like round-up (glycophate) damage than RRD to me because the shape is deformed but without the redness and thorniness I associate with RRD. However, as I’m not in an area that sees RRD I would defer to those with more experience.

  • last month
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    I did not use any glycophate (round up) on them. They look ominous to me but I hope I will get more opinions. There's also that growth of multiple stems from one nod.

    Thank you, Heather!

  • last month
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    All of my drifts are also covered in powdery mildew. They have lots of buds but seem delayed, as if not wanting to open, and many leaves look dried up and grey.

    I wonder what I should spray with for that.

    I already sprayed with Bayer solution which is supposed to address both BS and PM, but it did nothing.

    I thought Drfits were supposed to be carefree - turns out not.

    I seem to be better off with the big boys and girls - EDI, ORA..etc , amazing things.

  • last month
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    Those distorted buds really remind me of what RRD looked like many years ago when my Queen Elizabeth got it. (It was nine stories up on a balcony, seemingly isolated from other roses, and still got it.) For me, the canes were also kind of weirdly less dense than normal and grew very fast.

    That photo with multiple canes coming out of a single node looks like the "witch's broom" that's characteristic of RRD.

    My family out in CA deals with a ton of powdery mildew on their roses, and they've had good results using Captain Jack's Liquid Copper Fungicide.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    My Sweet Drifts get powdery mildew easily, as in this spring, yuck! As much as they do bloom nicely, I am thinking of giving them the boot. The Apricot Drifts do very well in my garden. They take black spot, which iis high pressure here, with little damage, not black spot free but of such insignificance that they grow nicely.

    Wait and see with those bushes that you supplied samples of RRV suspected growth. It will become apparent very need to be hasty. That growth could be from over generous fertilizing, so just wait and see.


  • last month

    Have you seen RRD in your area? It may not have come in on a plant. Sometimes there is an infected plant in the neighborhood and mites are wind-borne and spread from that plant to others in the area. I can't say for certain that this is RRD because I've only been growing roses in an RRD-prone area for a year, so haven't seen much of it myself. But it does look like glyphosate overspray to me in the case of the green growth that is contorted. Sometimes a neighbor sprays and the pesticide drifts.

    PM sometimes improves as the rose matures. The healthier it is, the easier time it will have fighting off PM. Sometimes in summer if the plant has water stress it can make it more vulnerable to PM. I don't spray for various reasons, but here in Arkansas I've found that with the right varieties, if i give them adequate sun, fertilizer, and water, they seem pretty happy and free of PM. They get a bit of blackspot, but not enough for me to worry. Good luck -- I hope you find that it isn't RRD. If the impacted plants are all drifts (easily replaceable) you might dig them out, bag them/bin them, and then spray mitecide on your remaining plants just for peace of mind.

  • last month

    Like a dermatologist:

    First impression upon speed view of this entire discussion: emaravirus

  • last month

    As K S mentions - drift from neighbors spraying (or spraying elsewhere in your yard if you do spray) can cause this damage and is what I was thinking of.

    Looking at the second to last picture again I do find the growth concerning - the branching stems being thicker than the source is classic RRD.

    As already suggested you might want to walk around your neighborhood and see if any other roses show symptoms, including any wild roses in the area if you have them. so long as there are roses with RRD around your roses will be at risk.

    I’m very sorry you are dealing with this, RRD can be devestating.

  • last month
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    Looking at your photos more carefully, I bet that is all powdery mildew damage. Powdery mildew is usually a spring and fall phenomenon... cool nights, hot days, and little rain encourages PM. I find PM harder to control than black spot. Get some of that Captain Jack's Liquid Copper Spray and use it just as the label says.

    Yes, big flowered and statuesqu roses I have found to be easier to care for fungus wise. Anything that has foliage so close to the ground like the Drifts do, better be lock solid disease free, which they are not in humid, hot climates like yours and mine...hotter there than here but humid, humid, humid... during summer.

  • last month
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    Thank you for bringing up the good report on Captain Jack's Copper, much appreciated.


  • last month


    So a form of RRD?

    Based on all the info here, it seems like I should not take chances and just oush them out.

    It's very concerning because I thought I had left all that in the past when I suspected RRD on two roses, two falls ago. I took them out but it's possible those may have infected the drifts.

    I am not aware of any roses with RRD in my neighborhood and I know it pretty well.

    I am concerned these will continue to spread if I leave them.

    What kind of miticide should I spray for prevention for the other roses?

    I understood it is pretty difficult to find something that would work.

    Urgh, what a mess.

  • last month


    You said " It will become apparent very need to be hasty."

    My fear is that if I wait longer it will spread to others. I did not know how quickly RRD would take to leave no doubt, but I feel that the more I wait to the higher the chance it will be to get to others.

    The ones I took out last year did not even have that much damage (only one growth that looked suspicious, and the same multiple canes coming out of one nod) - so I feel like I should be better safe than sorry.

    How long does it take RRD to spread to nearby roses? Does it happen in a jiffy or it takes a while?

    Trouble is I also have a symptomatic Drift in the same container with the Fairy. Now I regret having added it there last Fall.

    The Fairy shows no symptoms but I wonder if I should remove her too since she was sharing the bed with a symptomatic Drift.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Take this for what it’s worth as I have just started growing roses. However I’ve had lots of years of gardening. In the last few years, I have been overrun with unidentifed, webless mites. Eriophyid mites that infect echinacea heads, lots of what looks like spider mite infestation that kills plants, strangely also aster yellows. I have removed lots of plants. Anyway this year I’m spraying weekly with Pure Crop 1 and alternating with Green Cleaner. I’m also spray Bonide Revitalize on a different day weekly to strengthen the plants. I hope everything works.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Artist, I think you should go with your gut, which is telling you "better safe than sorry." As someone who has only experience RRD once, I can't claim to be close to an expert. But the photos you posted seem to show bizarre, distorted, uncharacteristic growth for a drift rose, including red, strap-shaped leaves and fleshy sepals or leaves around the buds. Plus you have the characteristic witch's broom growth. You have multiple symptoms pointing to potential RRD.

    I can find these sorts of decisions agonizing, but I have a feeling you'll feel better if you remove the affected plants. If The Fairy is close enough that its roots or leaves might be touching/intertwined with the affected drift roses, I'd remove it, as well. Make sure to remove all roots.

    I can't speak to miticides or other methods to prevent spread.

    Edited to add: If you have a local rose society or botanical garden, you could try sending them photos to see what they think. My nearby botanical garden invites gardening questions and has been remarkably friendly/helpful.

  • last month
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    That's either RRD or herbicide damage. Most likely RRD.

  • last month

    Oh, dear. It does look horrible. I'd be more likely to get rid of them quickly. So sorry. Where's Ann...she always has the last word on RRD.

  • last month

    Um.... aaaaaaand I am resurrecting this scary thread with a crucial question.

    Shocker of all shockers, there may be an explanation.

    If you can confirm that the horrible weed in the pictures below is a wild multiflora rose, then that was probably the source of this disaster. After all, I took two other roses last season with the same suspicion.

    Good. Holy. Lord.

    The line that separates our property from a neighbor's still has a very narrow remaining wild/woody area.

    Last year I de-weeded as much as I could on that line and had noticed this plant-creature too along wit other wild plants, but I never made the connection to a "wild rose."

    I thought it was just a weed. I pulled out as much as I could, and I remember it came out easily when pulled from the roots.

    Apparently I did not take all of it out because I saw more of it today. The white flowers drew my attention and when I saw the middle it dawned on me it might in fact be one of those "multifloras."

    Sweet Saints!!

    I took out everything that looked like it or any baby of that thing - but I am still not sure this is a multiflora that could be the actual culprit.

    Of course I also took out the Sweet Drift with the problem pictured above and will keep a very close watch on the one that shares a pot with the Fairy.

    On that one I only saw one small elongated growth at the tip which looked a bit different, but it has nothing else right now. I cut that branch and it looks perfectly fine now but I will watch it like a hawk.

    One thing I am not clear on is whether the RRD mites would distort the multiflora too if it carried them, or is it that "she" (The Witch) can handle them just fine, and only the regular roses suffer from it.

    What a mess. But I will wait fore your verdict on this wild creature, thank you so much!

  • last month

    That's not a rose, Artist. It's something in the bramble family, probably blackberry.

  • last month

    Hm...that's good to know.

    It looks awfully close to the multiflora pictures I saw online.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    What about this one? A neighbor has it at the mailbox but it's always a beauty in the Spring.

    Not exactly "wild." I guess that's a rugosa.

    Otherwise, I am not aware of anything in the larger area that might harbor those nasty mites.

  • last month

    Nope, not multiflora.

    The mites can travel for miles.

  • last month

    Then who knows? ...Even if there was one in the larger area, no one would know. It's a densely populated area with many yards.


  • last month

    Artist - it just blows the mind how scary growing roses can be. My roses had downy mildew last year...and it really freaked me out. I sure hope that you don't have to worry about RRD anymore.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Well, since I have no idea what the source of these scares is, I guess I can only play by the ear and watch things like a hawk.

    But if I have to take it out as soon as one of these weird growths shows up, the whole thing is quite daunting.

    I would like to spray with a preventative solution but I don't know that would be.

  • last month

    Maybe a miticide would be a preventative solution? I have no idea. :)

  • last month

    Late to the wake, and first how to tell a rose from a bramble: look at the base of the compound leaf. Roses have stipules which are two skinny little leave-like growths on opposite sides of the base of the compound leaf. Brambles don't have stipules.

    Multiflora flowers are always surrounded by other multiflora flowers on the same stem; the petals are only white for a day before they start to die and turn brownish.

    Now about your sick drift roses. If those were mine, I'd isolate them from my other roses immediately . When I look at roses, I want (ok, really I don't want) to see three symptoms. when I compare the leaf margins, when I look at the spacing of leaves on a cane (so dense that that's why the name rosette got applied) the slowness of the green pigment emerging.

    That's three and that's just a start, One of the pix shows an almost circular distortion and that happens with RRD when one side of a stem is sickER and grows even faster than the other side.

    But there's yet another thing: powdery mildew. Multiflora is famous and beloved for not getting powdery mildew. Even Epstein and Hill mention in their main RRD paper that multiflora with RRD also gets powdery mildew. Why? Don't know. But I do know my garden's susceptibility to PM (which is low except for years when we get a late freeze and the roses that survive that often have PM when they have never had it before). So when I see PM on a rose I look really hard to makes sure there are no other symptoms that I associate with RRd.

    IS there a proven preventive solution? I don't know for sure.

    I know air flow always drops mites in certain places- so don't replant where you've consistently lost roses to RRd.

    Nature gives us thrips to destroy the beauty of rose petals. If we get lucky, the other kinds of thrips that are predaceous thrips will have populations that grow as their food source grows, and predaceous thrips will eat mites (size matters when you are searching for something slightly smaller than you are for food).

    Try to figure out air flow. Look up wind for multiflora growing in untended fields or along highways that haven't been cut back and are about twenty years older (on at least one side).

    Do you have other questions?

    Have you read my ebook It's old-ish but it's based on years of my observations.


  • last month


    Thank you so much!

    What can I say, I am stumped. I did what I could.

    I took out the Drift shown in the picture, packed up, disposed of it safely.

    However, the one in the pot with The Fairy...I am still waiting, because there wasn't anything anywhere close to what the one shown here had; just a bit of an elongated tip on a very small, tender branch, but nothing else. It reminded me a bit of what haky reported here, but much smaller:

    I hate to pull it out without any other signs - it looks perfectly good right now, after I cut off that little elongated tip.

    As for PM, all of my drifts have it now (the corals too) and I sprayed but didn't help much. They are getting ready to bloom and I can't see any sign of RRD on them.

    I wish there was some preventative measure such as a miticide or something. They are all well spaced apart and I am not aware of any multiflora in the larger area.

    So I really feel helpless on this one.

    For a second I thought I had my answer with that weed, but it doesn't look like it.

  • last month

    Artist - have you read Ann's ebook? She's our resident RRD guru. If you have a specific question, I'll get her attention back to here...but you should probably read her ebook first. :) :) I'm sorry you're going through this. It seems hopeless right now...but you'll move through this with a bit more knowledge. Hang in there. <3 <3

  • last month
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    I am in the process of reading it.