We bought our 100 year old house and yard 7 years ago. There were six scale and disease ridden camellias that were at least 50 years old. Since that time, I have done everything my county extension agent advised: Ortho or Green Light spray three times per year, prune lightly and fertilize after blooming, remove all spent blossoms promptly after they fall. In spite of all this care, each still gets a fresh batch of scale every year. Every leaf on each shrub is ruined.
The old camellias were pruned up from the bottom years ago to make a tree form. They vary in size from 6 to 15 feet. I have planted 8 other camellias since moving to this yard. All are thriving and bloom appropriately.
What should I do about the old camellias? A young man in our are who has a degree in horticulture from Auburn has suggested that I prune off all limbs and haul away leaving bare trunks and some limbs reducing the size down to about 2/3. Is this radical approach viable? Thanks.