Rose Mosiac Virus @ K&M Roses

Arcus_85(5b)May 3, 2014

Hey guys. Just received my K&M order and 3 out of 11 roses are, without doubt, infected with RMV. Two more are very questionable, but as RMV doesn't always show symptoms, I'll just have to wait and see. This is my third time ordering from K&M and all three times I've gotten infected plants. Mr. Mills always offers the same answer, "It's Iron Deficiency". Obviously I know better. Moral of the story: Buyers Beware! I've spoken with James on a few occasions about the exact varieties affected and nothing has been done to clean them up. Apparently he has some infected mother plants and is choosing to do nothing about it. Mr. Mills may be a very nice gentleman, but his business practices are terrible. He is sending diseased plants all across the country and nobody is doing, or saying, a single thing about it. I, however, refuse to go quietly into the night. If I can open just one persons eyes to this it was all worth it!

This post was edited by Arcus_85 on Mon, May 12, 14 at 21:25

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seil zone 6b MI

I don't know that I see typical RMV markings on those leaves, Arcus. When I've seen it on mine it's a definite yellow irregular patterning. Hence the "lightening bolt" description. Also, what varieties are they? There are some varieties of roses that can not be had any other way than virused because that's how they were introduced to begin with. I know they are doing indexing and treatments now but not everything has been cleaned and maybe never will be. I know it's controversial but personally I don't even look for it anymore. I know some of mine are virused but they've been here for decades and are still blooming and growing like mad.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 8:24PM
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Yes, it's true that some varieties may do just fine. Key word.."may". Who wants to wait all winter for their roses to arrive with RMV? Especially when you are trying to grow Fortuniana in a colder climate. I need all the winter protection I can get. I certainly don't need diseased roses struggling on Fortuniana to make it through an Ohio winter! I know you exhibit Seil, this isn't tolerated at shows around here. Besides, people spend good money on these roses, and they should not be told it's an Iron Deficiency! RMV is pretty obvious. Not much looks like it!! Also, RMV does not always show watermarks(even though these two do). Sometimes they are just mottled. I'm sending the plants off for testing because I want hard proof. I'm tired of this guy getting away with this. Will let you know the results. I've been doing this for awhile now though and it's pretty obvious in person. As soon as the results come in I will post them. The varieties are Let Freedom Ring, The Wright Brothers, Big Red, Bugatti, and possibly Marilyn Wellan. Last year it was Big Red, Denali, Uncle Joe, Gold Medal, Cesar Chavez and Kardinal. This is inexcusable. These varieties wouldnt grow for me all year last year, while my other bushes were 5 ft tall. I confronted Mr. Mills and he again told me it was Iron Deficient. As if I dont give my plants Iron. He also proceeded to tell me there isn't an Uncle Joe on the market that doesn't have RMV!!! (Even though I have a clean plant in my garden right now from another source.) I'm just not going to support the spread of this disease when there are plenty of other sources selling clean plants. It isn't like I'm the first to receive RMV from K&M. Once you start asking around, you'll find the same thing. I'll be joining the list of exhibitors who will NOT support James Mills. Until he cares enough about the rose to clean up his stock, instead of knowingly selling sick plants year after year, forget it!! By the way, after confronting Mr. Mills about the "iron deficiency", he all 3 times told me to just take the sick roses off the invoice. Does that sound like somebody who doesn't believe they have RMV? I always wondered why he was the only source that sends you his plants before you pay. Now I know why. He'd be sending money back constantly!!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 9:16AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

You might want to ask if the nursery even offers Virus Indexed plants. Guessing if they sell at the lower price points they likely have not spend the money to buy new stock.

The link is to the UCDavis indexed material.

Here is a link that might be useful: UCDavis

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 11:46AM
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seil zone 6b MI

I hope your efforts will help to clean things up, Arcus. I don't order from K&M myself because they are grafted to fort. and I've not tried to push that envelope...yet. So hopefully when I do decide to try it your vigilance will have paid off for me! Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 12:24PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Arc, FWIW I raged about RMV last spring...everything has done just fine. I have two Reve d'Or from K&M that likely have RMV (to me it is that "tropical looking houseplant foliage" type leaf).
Anyway, within the month I've had them both have shot up at least 3 ft.....
When I first raged everyone just kinda seemed like there's not much one can do about it because as Kippy said, it's quite expensive to heat treat them.
Keep em honest!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 8:14PM
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I had a rose with rmv and that does not look like it.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 1:20PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

The patterns of the marks on leaves vary widely. I can't tell on your top photos, but the final one sure is a pattern I've seen before.

But, look -- keep in mind that unless you are buying VI cultivars, grafted on VI or seedling rootstock, you are very likely to have virused plants. By the time anyone paid attention to it, EVERYTHING was virused.

And I have received virused plants grown own-root from a mother plant imported directly from David Austin in the UK. Virused as all get-out (and with root gall, on top of that). THOSE plants, we dug up and put into the trash.

It might be different if I lived in a cold-winter climate -- but I have 20-year-old virused roses here, so they CAN do just fine.

Bottom line: Unless it is specifically-stated that roses are VI, and rootstock is VI or seedling -- you have a dependable chance of getting virused roses. You just have to decide how you will approach that.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 1:28PM
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Thanks for the support everyone. I know I just sound like I'm a disgruntled customer, but I'm trying to look out for the roses AND the people here. The problem is that Mr. Mills does claim that his rootstock is virus indexed. It may very well be, but that doesn't do ANY good when your mother plants are infected and you just continue to bud infected wood onto clean rootstock. I specifically told him, and sent pictures, of the varieties the first year I ordered. He did nothing to clean these varieties up. Just gave me the sick plants for free all three times, just to send more infected plants out of the SAME varieties. If Mr. Mills really thought he didn't have RMV he wouldn't be giving his roses away! The sad thing is that sooo many people don't even realize they have it until they have paid. Think of all the money that he is getting from people who won't speak up (which I know many)! Or from the people that don't even realize! Maybe some of them will grow ok, but who wants to always be wondering "could this rose be even better"?? I put my heart and soul into my babies and want to know they are all they can be! The worst part of it to me, is that many of these RMV plants will make it to a show table (whether it's still undetected, or just not currently showing) and then other exhibitors or gardeners will take these roses for cuttings! Then, before you know it, you are contributing to the spread of the disease!! I just feel that somebody needs to look out for these roses, as they can't help themselves. It's going to be really sad when you can't even find uninfected plants in the United States anymore..and worse, we all just sat back and watched it happen. I will be doing my best to educate people on this matter until something is done, and I certainly will be buying from reputable sources from now on. Wisconsin Roses, Palatine, Roses Unlimited, and Witherspoon were, BY FAR, the best orders I received this year. VERY nice, VERY healthy plants. Thank goodness there are still a few good ones out there that actually care about the welfare of the rose and not just about lining their pockets!!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 9:37AM
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kentucky_rose zone 6

Did you discover the rose bushes were diseased upon arrival or later? If planted, did you shovel prune them? Since you mentioned exhibiting, did you exhibit them and win any awards? If so, I think I would pay Mr. Mill's and just not order any more. My Elina on Dr. Huey that I purchased 10+ years ago, had RMV and it was one of my best performers. I had problems from another vendor with Sugar Moon and contacted the vendor upon receipt that I didn't like the bareroot that was sent and wanted a replacement, but never got one. The plant never got over a foot tall the first year and at the end of year 3, I sp'd it. I have not ordered any more bareroot roses from this vendor since Sugar Moon.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 6:32PM
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Wow,I am just starting my very first ever Rose Garden and have obtained a few varieties from different ebay vendors and they all look ok.
I just bought a Rose plant from Mr. Mills and received it last month. Will my other Roses get this disease ? There are in pots side by side of the one from K and M. I hope I dont have to start all over.


This post was edited by greenster on Sun, May 11, 14 at 5:31

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 4:31AM
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Frank- No, you don't have to start all over. What variety did you get from Mr. Mills, if you don't mind me asking? Not everything I've ordered has been infected, so you might be ok. Even if, by chance, the one you ordered does have it, it shouldn't be a problem for you as far as the disease spreading. I just read an article published on the ARS by Malcom Manners stating that the only way of transmission is through grafting. Some people go to the extreme and dig the plant up and burn it. I don't see any point in this as I've never had it spread from one rose to another. The biggest problem for me is that they just don't grow like a normal rose. Much less vigor, flower size distortion, color distortion, and winter tenderness. Also very hard to exhibit an RMV rose unless it isn't showing. Even then you run the risk of someone taking your rose home from the show to root it. My advice: keep it until you find a clean version of it. It may still throw off some nice flowers and grow ok for you. Then again, it may be lackluster. Either way though, DON"T start over! Good luck with your new rose garden!!

Kentucky Rose- Yea, the roses had it upon arrival. I didn't plant them in the ground. I ended up planting them in pots until I can get replacements for them. I didn't want to take up good spots in the ground for sick plants so I just potted them up. They are growing, just slower than the rest. I have exhibited a rose with RMV one time. I actually won Princess with her at the Tenarky Districts last year, in fact. The Variety is Bugatti (do not buy it from Mr. Mills!) and it's one of the few that doesn't seem to show symptoms much. But, like I said before, it just generally lacked vigor and I was always wondering how much better she really should be. Just seems kind of pointless to me. I had thought about just paying Mr. Mills and being done with him but the more I thought about it the more it angered me. How many people does he get this over on and how many people just say to hell with it and just pay him? Not doing it this time. Last time I gave him nearly 550 dollars just to have roses I already paid for show symptoms halfway through the season. Half the first ordered showed immediately, and the other half started showing up throughout the summer. I decided he wasn't taking me to the cleaners this time around.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:44AM
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Thanks for the information.I obtained a red variety "Mr. Lincoln".I have not seen anything that looks bad... No new growth yet,plants graft looks great though.
Hope you get a concrete answer and maybe someone can call the owner so he can come here on the forum and explain what issues are happening with some specific varieties.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:46AM
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