Condition of my camellia

plaz_2008June 10, 2008

I have a camellia plant which is developing some bad indications. I planted this camellia 8 years ago and changed to a drip irrigation system about 2 months ago. I have 2 drippers under the plant each located on the surface about 8 inches from the center of the plant.

The total flow out of 2 drippers is 5 gallons in 30 minutes. Irrigation is currently set at 30 minutes every 10 days.

Below is a site with a photo of the plant. I would appreciate any opinions about the condition of the plant such as too much or too little water or fertilizer or something else. I want these plants to be healthy.

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Camellia roots are shallow so I think you are watering too long if it comes out to 5gallons per dripper. How big are these shrubs? I have mine set to water 1g in one hour and they water twice a week, three times when the temps are in the 100s. 5 gallons via two drippers means you are watering the shrub 10gallons! I would water less and more often. To tell if there are areas that are dry, just insert a finger to a depth of 4" (not counting the mulch) in several places around the main trunk and see if it feels dry most or wet. Sasanquas get rid of old leaves this time of the year so it is hard to tell if the yellow leaves are caused by that or not.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 12:34PM
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Another suggestion in order to clarify. For about a week or more, check the soil moisture daily by inserting a finger to a depth of 4" somewhere inside the drip line of the bush; do not count the mulch when measuring the depth.

If the soil feels almost dry or dry then water 2-3g and write down on a calendar when you watered. Start from the root ball outwards past the drip line. Do this for a while until you notice a watering pattern developing in the calendar; in other words, observe if you have to water every 2, 3, 4 or 5 days. Then set your sprinkler or drip to water early in the mornings about 2-3g of water on that frequency.

If the temperatures change 10-15 degrees (up or down) and stay there, check using the finger method again and adjust as necessary. I now have to water about twice a week due to the high temperatures in the summer and may have to switch to three times when I get to the 100s as these temperatures are accompanied by drying winds which dry out the shallow camellia roots first. But by September I am back to watering as I usually do in the Spring.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 6:35PM
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