The virus was first found on wild roses which are known as a noxious weed in most states. There was joy that there was a natural control for the wild roses until it set its sights on the prized garden rose. Once the plant is infected it is too late. It is a systemic to the plant which means it will spread all the way down to the root system. There is now way to prune out the disease. One bite from the eriophyoid mite and it`s all over. The disease is also being spread by the means of grafting which a lot of greenhouses do to cross bread different variety of roses. Make sure to purchase your plants from a reputable nursery. The only means to control the disease is to remove the whole plant along with the root system once discovered.
Symptoms are very noticeable on the plant once it is infected. Leaves will become malformed as if the plant has an herbicide burn from pesticides. Large thorns will be produced up by purple stems that would naturally usually bloom as flowers. This is usually known as “Witches Broom” on the plant. The plant will eventually stop flowering and eventually die. There is no known control of the virus at this time. So keep an eye on your garden these days and keep your fingers crossed the virus passes you by.
Photo Credit: University of Missouri Extension - Chris Starbuck