Deadly plant disease threatens $250M rose business
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - An incurable plant disease is causing major damage to the $250-million-a-year rose business in the U.S.
Dr. David Byrne of Texas A&M University is leading a $4.6 million multistate project to study the virus that causes rose rosette disease and the wind-blown mite that spreads it and to find roses that aren't susceptible. He says one rose producer spent $1 million getting rid of it, and some smaller nurseries have had to destroy 10,000 plants.
The virus has been found in at least 30 states. In Texas, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden removed 2,000 plants. The virus recently spread in northwest Louisiana, in the same city as the American Rose Society 's gardens: the largest U.S. park devoted to the national flower.
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