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Camelia needs help!

Posted by bananafan 9b (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 21, 07 at 10:48

I have four Camelia bushes in my yard and they all look very sickly. They all did bloom this year, but the leaves are yellowish and moldly on the surface and on the underside, there are some rusty looking scales. What are these? I tried spraying them with a fungicide, but it didn't do much to it. What should I do to get rid of this disease? Here's a picture of some of the leaves.

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Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Camelia needs help!

First of all, it's always important to obtain a proper identification of a symptom BEFORE grabbing the chemicals. That saves you time and $, as well as the environmental impact of more pesticides into the environment. I'm not scolding....just a friendly reminder that we ALL need to be aware of as we enter the growing season. The problem with your camellias is not a disease, nor an insect. It's an environmental (physical) issue.

Your camellia has what is called Oedema. It's not caused by any pathogen whatsoever, but by overly moist conditions. This can be created by improper watering or irrigation, excessive rain for months on end, poorly drained soils, poor circulation at the planting site, etc. Excessive water cause some of the cells to literally burst, after which they scale over with a corky tissue.

Oedema is not fatal to the plant, it just looks terrible. It's also a clear sign that something is wrong with the growing conditions that your plants are residing in.

You can never get rid of the existing oedema, but if the reasons why it exists in the first place are improved, all of the new growth is likely to be perfectly healthy.

RE: Camelia needs help!

We have twenty camelias in our garden; they have some kind of disease/fungus that are making the trees scraggly. Could someone please look at the photos and advise if we should spray with fungicide or just destroy them.

Unfortunately I could upload only one photo.

RE: Camelia needs help!

We need more information than the one you have provided. Can you email me pictures instead?

It would be nice to know more about the fungal infection with a description of the damage that you are seeing in the leaves. Please indicate what city-state-usda zone you are in, what camellias these are and what varieties (for example, camellia japonica debutante or camellia sasanqua chansonette, etc).

How old are they? How much sun do they get in the summer months? How much fertilizer do you give them and how often? Is your soil alkaline or acidic? Have you had soil tests done lately? If so, did the test show problem with the levels of the three major minerals (nitrogen, phosphorus, pottasium) or one of the minor ones? When did the leaves start having signs of problems?

RE: Camelia needs help!

Hmm, I was checking to see if you had commented and I had a thought... that when you talked about a fungus/disease, that maybe you were referring to the grayish growth on the bark in your photo. Is that what you are concerned about?

While I could be wrong, that dirt looking thing may be lichen. Lichen looks like dirt on the bark and is not usually a problem per se. It can be killed with some copper fungicide.

Lichen are organisms that do not hurt the camellia but sometimes, when they show up, it may be becasuse the plant in question is stressed already by something else. They are most commonly found / are host to Souther Magnolias and Camellias. Or maybe the plant is just fine and simply got chosen as a host place. Hard to tell since we cannot ask them. So, think of lichens as sometimes indicating a problem; and check the 20 plants for problems.

To find out if the plants are stressed, you could do a soil test to make sure that the soil has adequate levels of minerals, has a good pH Level, has mulch all around; has no fungal or pest issues on the top & bottom of the leaves and make sure that the soil is not kept wet for long periods, something that could cause root rot and make the lichens show up.

If you were not pointing to that area in the picture as the problem, oops, sorry. See if you can send me pictures or if you can post them. We may all be able to comment on leaf problems (if that is what you have) if we see something.

Here is a link that might be useful: Information about lichens by ACES

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