National experts to convene in Texas for rose rosette disease meeting

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

Rose rosette disease – what it is and how experts are dealing with it – will be the topic of a meeting Nov. 12 at Chambersville Tree Farms, 7032 County Road 971, Celina.

The event will be 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and is free to the public, according to Dr. Kevin Ong, director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab in College Station.

Rose rosette is a fatal viral disease spread by mites onto rose bushes. The disease leads to excessive thorn production, leaf distortion and excessive stem development, known as witches broom, at the ends of branches, according to Dr. Michael Merchant, AgriLife Extension entomologist in Dallas.

An introduction to the disease will be presented by Maddi Shires, a plant pathology doctoral student at Texas A&M University in College Station. Dr. Greg Church, AgriLife Extension horticulture agent in Collin County, will talk about the status of the disease there.

Dr. Jim Amrine, professor emeritus of entomology at West Virginia University, will discuss points to remember about the spread of the disease in roses. Dr. Mark Windham, distinguished professor of ornamental pathology at the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture, will talk about proactive management strategies to combat the disease.

The challenges of breeding rose rosette-resistant roses will be the topic for Dr. David Byrne, professor and Basye Endowed Chair in Rose Genetics at Texas A&M University. Ong will conclude the event with a discussion on how the diagnostic lab can assist in finding rose rosette disease-resistant or -tolerant rose varieties.

For more information, contact Ong at 979-845-8032, kevo@tamu.edu.

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