New Resource for Crown Gall on Rose

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The National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) released a new fact sheet (PDF, 1.7MB) dedicated to crown gall on roses. This is a bacterial plant disease that is particularly devastating to members of the Rosaceae family, such as apples, blackberries, cherries, and roses.

Crown gall, caused by Agrobacterium tumefaciens, can cause gall formation on any plant part, such as the crown near the soil line, below the soil line, or even in the canopy of the plant. The swellings interfere with water and nutrient transport within the plant rarely kill the plant outright. However, due to moisture and/or nutrient stress, the plant becomes compromised and may be more susceptible to winter injury.

As with many plant diseases (especially those caused by viral and bacterial agents), prevention is the best strategy to manage the disease, since no treatments exist to remediate an infected plant. To that end, the NCPN has created this new fact sheet to increase awareness about this disease.

The NCPN consists of a network of clean plant centers, scientists, educators, state and federal regulators, large and small nurseries, and growers of specialty crops that work together to ensure that plant propagation material is clean and available. This group was created to protect US specialty crops, such as roses, from the spread of economically harmful insects and plant diseases.

As a side note, A. tumefaciens instigates gall formation by inserting its own DNA into the plant, causing the plant to produce unusually large and numerous plant cells that form the gall. Scientists identified a way to manipulate this activity to create genetically modified plants, using A. tumefaciens. Many of the early genetically modified crops were created using the causal agent of crown gall, including insect and disease resistant crops.

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