Florida is the nation’s fourth-largest producer of roses, and UF/IFAS researchers recently helped the state’s growers avoid a potentially devastating bout with rose rosette disease, a viral malady that is the most significant threat to U.S. rose production. In late 2013, reported signs of the disease spurred immediate response from a research team led by Mathews Paret, an assistant professor with the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. The scientists issued alerts, helped identify infected plants and held training sessions to educate industry and Extension personnel about the disease and appropriate responses. The rapid response led to the eradication of infected plants in Florida and no outbreaks have been reported in the state since 2014. The team is also developing a preventive strategy for producers and a test capable of detecting the virus in non-symptomatic plants.
Matthews Paret, left, conducts research into rose rosette disease at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones