Roses on campus contract virus

Kayla Swanson

While construction changes Downing University Center, the outside of Diddle Arena is also undergoing a change.

A virus discovered during a grounds checklist during summer 2011 has impacted roses in front of Diddle.

John Osborne, vice president for Campus Services and Facilities, said that the roses couldn’t be saved.

“We were forced to remove them and thin it out before it spread any further,” Osborne said.

Campus Services manager, Josh Twardowski, has been in charge of taking care of the problem.

“Josh has been studying on it and taking measures to save our roses,” said Sustainability Coordinator Christian Ryan-Downing.

Twardowski said the virus that has infected the roses is called “Rose Rosette” and only affects the multiflora rose.

“There are roses all over town that are infected,” Twardowski said.

Landscape architect for Planning, Design and Construction Helen Siewers and associate professor Martin Stone helped Twardowski develop a contingency plan for the roses, Twardowski said.

“The contingency plan is to remove the roses as soon as they are diagnosed,” Twardowski said. “During this time, we take caution not to spread the disease to non-infected roses.

“After we remove the roses, we are replacing them with other plants that have similar characteristics to the roses such as long bloom time with fragrant flowers.”