Rose Bush Thrip Damage?

I have never seen this type curling/deformation occur with my roses before. I am wondering if folks have an idea what its source might be? My thought is thrips but it’s honestly affecting all of my roses, regardless of the bed location throughout my property. It seems odd to me that thrips are affecting almost all of my roses.

Any help is appreciated!

The leaf curl seems more indicative of drift from someone spraying glyphosate? Usually my thrip damage affects bloom edge even in San Antonio where thrips were prolific…

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Doesn’t look like thrips to me. The reddish color is like new growth (hard to be sure from photos). The “crinkly” curling foliage may be early stages of powdery mildew, which makes sense if all or most of the bushes have the same ailment. If it gets a lot worse it might me rose rosette disease (but doesn’t seem to be RRD at this stage).

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I also do not think these photos show thrips damage. Thrips burrow into the bud and mess up your bloom. They are very tiny insects, the size of rice, and can be seen on light colored blooms.

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I agree with your good diagnosis. It looks like new growth and a plant that is ready for nitrogen.

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If you live in the South I would say it is Chilli Thrip damage.

I think the damage is caused by the chilli thrip. It attacks the new growth of most plants, but for rose growers we notice that it seems to attack only roses. The damage to roses appears to resemble RRD or effect of drift spray of roundup. Chilli thrips are smaller than the western thrip. The best treatment after the damage is to temove the damaged parts and discard in your green waste bin(don’t keep in your yard)

The photos above from Billie Flynn are examples of chilli thrip damage. Chilli thrips suck the fluid from new, tender growth (roses, tomatoes, peppers, bedding plants, etc, etc. just about anything with new growth). Can not be knocked off with water pressure. Spraying with an insecticide containing Spinosad kill adult chilli thrips but will not make the plant toxic. Insecticides containing acephate will kill chilli thrips but will make the plant toxic for up to 10 days. Chilli thrips are a warm weather problem. They can not tolerate several winters BUT they can get into a northern garden by way of new nursery plants brought into your spring garden.


Had them in San Antonio…rrrrggghhhh so tough to get rid of!

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Gabrielle, I live in central LA. Chilli thrips are a real heart breaker for us because you don’t realize you have them until the new growth is deformed and the buds are ruined. I usually do not spray any insecticide in my garden but after the problems from last summer I am being more aggressive. After our rose show and after the first spring bloom I dead headed all blooms and any buds that showed color. Then I sprayed the rose bushes with acephate to protect the new growth from chilli thrips. My thinking was the plants would be toxic for 10 days, but I wouldn’t have any blooms to attack the bees and butterflies to the roses. I am hoping I can control the chilli thrips and keep pollinators in my garden, too.

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Terrible damage! I have been told they do not live in our cool wet weather near Seattle. I hope that is correct.

They can’t take severe winters. But, can be introduced into your spring garden from newly purchased bedding plants.

What do you recommend as preventative action when bringing a new rose to your garden?

I have a “time out” area where ALL new plants are kept for at least two weeks before being planted in my garden. If I see any signs of insect, mite or fungicide damage I treat the plants. I find a light formular of all season horticulture oil (one-two tablespoons per gallon of water/plants kept in the shade after application of oil) is a good cure all. Bedding plants from green houses are a popular host for many garden pest.

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Donald Bechtle, where do you live and grow roses?

Interesting as I did not think we had Chili Thrips in the upper midwest. Don is from Minnesota. Perhaps it came in with new roses???

The ARS is having a webinar update on Chili Thrips with Dr Lance Osborn - an expert - On August 10th at 11 AM CDT. We will be sending email invitations to our ARS Members and posting invitations on social media. I will be sure to post hear too!

As Diane said I live in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. As an update, the new growth that has started to shoot up past the curled leaves seems to be normal as of right now. None of the curled leaves have any damage that resembles Chili Thrip damage now that the curled leaves have all opened and I could exam them more closely. The weather here has been a little cool at times with ALOT of rain this spring. My understanding is that neither of these is conducive to the spread of Thrips. This damage was on the new growth of all 70+ roses I have. I have roses in my front, back and side yard. It was also on the maiden roses that I have growing in pots. The uniformity of the damage leaves (no pun intended ) me with the working theory the source was environmental. The diagnosis of the early stages of powdery mildew or another fungus seems to fit best as of right now. Although I did not see the Powdery Mildew, there has been so much pollen dust on my roses that I likely just missed it. To test that theory, I have sprayed my roses with Neem Oil and then Copper Fungicide a few days later. I will continue to monitor the new growth of my roses to see if things continue to head in the right direction.

Thank you everyone for your feedback on this. It has been incredibly insightful!

Hopefully your treatment will cure the problem. Good luck.

Thank you. I am sure many other forum readers will appreciate this information.