Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Dawn Rose Killed by Witches Broom

This was my beautiful New Dawn rose.

 It was 16 years old, but last year we had to cut it down. Why? Because it fell victim to Rose Rosetta Disease, also known as "Witches Broom" Disease, for which there is no cure. The best you can do, once a rose has it,  is cut out the diseased canes and hope that takes care of the problem. I did this for two or three years previous, knowing the bush was infected, and held out hope that would do trick. Unfortunately, it did not.
I had already lost several other rose bushes to this disease. Very heartbreaking, because I wanted to grow roses more than I wanted to grow anything, except maybe lavender.
So I was pretty sad. This New Dawn rose was the most beautiful plant in my entire yard -- my pride and joy. Each May it burst into bloom, the delicate pink blossoms emitting a slight, not heavy, vanilla fragrance. In bud, it was perfect. The sheer size of the plant was pretty amazing and I had visitors stop by just to see it.

The rose is coming back from the root this spring, and I check it every few days to see if the new canes look normal. I cannot tell just yet. I am very hopeful.
I find that some people haven’t heard of Rose Rosetta Disease. It’s said to come from wild rose bushes, and in past years I gathered roots from those that grow along the roadsides and introduced them onto our property. I feel certain that’s why it came to my roses.

Symptoms of the disease on my New Dawn included reddish-purple distorted leaves, blackening of the canes and shoots that did not produce a flower. If your rose gets it (and I hope it doesn’t), you’ll know it. It will look like this:

and this:

and this:

If you want to read more about Rose Rosetta Disease, you can go to Virginia Cooperative Extension. I have used their images above to illustrate the disease.

Do you grow roses? What varieties are your favorites? Are you familiar with this disease (I hope your roses have never been infected!)


  1. That was an amazing plant. Hope you are lucky with the new shoots. I had some hand-me-down roses in Seattle that grew very well. They were almost dead when I got them, so I cut them to almost the ground, and was rewarded with huge bushes in just a few years. I never knew the names, but I had an assortment of beautiful colors.

    1. When I visited Seattle some years ago I thought the area must be a rose-growers paradise. So many beautiful roses. Growing roses in the south can be a challenge because of our hot, dry summers. Much watering is required, but well worth the effort. I want my New Dawn back! I am giving it a few years to make sure the disease is gone before I buy any new roses.

  2. This was one more beautiful plant! Even prettier than you described. I hope the new shoots come back disease free. You have had some beautiful ones in your days and I know you will be successful again with them.
    Great info. Wish I could grow them.

  3. Hello. Your rose was just beautiful. I do hope it has come back for you. I am just starting a rose garden and would like to do something similar. Don't even know if I can get New Dawn here in Australia yet, but before I find out could you tell if it was a climber that you formed into that shape? If so how easy/difficult was it to control (as far as size etc. is concerned). It is so beautiful. If I can do it I would certainly like to try. Thanks

  4. I have 2 rose bushes that are badly infected with rose rosette that I have to dig up and throw away. I have seen a milder rose rosette on my Climbing New Dawn and other rose bushes, like you I cut and do the wait and see attitude.


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