Rose rosette disease in Florida
Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) is a devastating plant infection that threatens Florida’s rose (Rosa spp.) nursery industry as well as retail sales and landscape use. In late 2013, the disease was diagnosed on a rose sample submitted to the Florida Extension Plant Diagnostic Clinic at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, FL. Researchers at the plant diagnostic clinic confirmed the presence of RRD by applying a molecular biology technique known as Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction to detect RNA expression levels. Since then, RRD has been found in two other Florida counties. RRD is a virus vectored by a tiny eriophyid mite, Phyllocoptes fructiphilus Keifer, however, the mite has not yet been found in Florida. Currently, there is no cure for RRD. Infected plant warning signs include proliferation of shoots, distortion of shoots and leaves, elongated reddened leaves, distorted flower buds and the overabundance of thorns. Ultimately, the disease weakens the plant causing it to decline and die. Early recognition of RRD plant symptoms is a key component to containing the spread of the disease. The University of Florida/IFAS Extension and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry are working together to provided commercial growers, professional landscape personnel, professional scouts and county extension faculty with Rose Rosette Virus and Eriophyid mite information and scouting training.