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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2007 Media Releases

June 21, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Mark Canney, Parks and Recreation, 441-7847
Hallie Salem, Urban Development, 441-7866


A rapidly spreading rose disease is making it necessary to remove and replace some of the plants in the downtown Lincoln area. Rose Rosette is a spread by tiny mites and is affecting roses in three general areas:

  • along 9th Street from "R" to &quto;P" streets;
  • adjacent to the Federal Building and garage on 15th Street from "O" to "P" streets; and
  • across from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln campus along "Q" street.

The City of Lincoln is working with the Downtown Lincoln Association (DLA) and UNL to address the disease. Rose removal is under way to prevent the disease from spreading any further. The City Parks and Recreation Department is working with the DLA maintenance staff to identify and remove infected roses.

"Itís been difficult to control the disease because of the large number of roses in the downtown area," said Mark Canney of the Parks and Recreation Department. "The only known effective treatment for controlling the disease in the downtown locations is to dig up and destroy infected plants, including the roots, to prevent the disease from spreading to other plants."

The roses will be replaced from July through October with a greater variety of plant material, including grasses and shrubs. Some of the replanting will be coordinated with other streetscape projects being managed by the City Urban Development Department. Because the disease may remain in planting beds after roses have been removed, portions of beds will remain dormant until fall or next spring when new rose plants will be installed.

The mites carrying Rose Rosette travel through the wind or by contact with another plant, tools or clothing. Residents may reduce susceptibility to disease in their own plants through proper spacing, maintenance and watering. Infected shrubs should be sprayed with Avid® or an equivalent every 10 days, and pruners should be cleaned with bleach. (Avid® is not practical for use downtown because of the quantity of roses and the need for frequent applications.) Gardeners can contact local nurseries for more information on the prevention and treatment of Rose Rosette.

Symptoms of the disease include rapid elongation of new shoots; clustering of small branches; small distorted leaves that may have a red pigmentation; excessive growth of unusually soft and pliable red or green thorns; distorted flowers with fewer petals and abnormal color; blackening and death of canes; shoots that do not produce flowers; and pebbly-textured leaves.

For information on the removal and replacement of downtown roses, contact the Urban Development Department at 441-7866. Those wishing to make tax-deductible contributions for replacement of the roses can contact Parks and Recreation at 441-3084 or DLA at 434-6900.

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