“I’m worried that this city’s favorite flower is being overtaken by this disease”

“Dear PoPville,

Last year I noticed my knockout roses acting really weird. Hard to describe. But they looked almost… furry? The leaves started to get really narrow and there were a bunch more of them than normal. They just looked really shaggy. So I asked some gardening friends and they said that my roses had a virus called Rose Rosette Disease, possibly spread by mites, and that I needed to immediately dig up the plant by the roots and kill it before it spread. I did, but then I started noticing just how wide spread the disease was around town. DC has always loved its roses, they’re everywhere, and every knockout rose I saw had the same disease.

I had hoped to save my heirloom roses that I loved, but this year big chunks of the plants just started dying quickly and about a week ago I noticed the telltale shaggy flowers of rosettes disease. I’m really sad. I planted these roses 18 years ago and I hate to kill them off. But they’re already dying.

I’m not an expert. I’m just parroting what I’ve heard from others. I only have one picture that I took myself, which I’ll share but it’s not a great example. But I’m worried that this city’s favorite flower is being overtaken by this disease and I’m a little surprised no one seems to have noticed.

This is my new shaggy rose.

All of the roses outside of the CVS at the Rhode Island Ave metro had it. I’m not sure what is to be done. But I feel like word needs to get out.”

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