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Compromised camellias.

Q: I have some mature, 8-foot, multi-stem camellias that have been successfully living in a bed with azaleas in Virginia Beach. The azaleas are thriving and the camellias are in full bloom, but one of the camellia stems has died and another one is showing stress--small buds are not opening and leaves are much smaller than the rest and starting to yellow. Could this be a problem with insects or disease?

A: Without more to goon, this sounds like a fungal canker disease common to camellias. You may be able to stop the spread by pruning out stems that start to show symptoms. A professional who is qualified in plant pathology may be able to identify the causal organism and recommend an effective fungicide. Camellias are typically reliable in the Virginia Beach region, so I suspect that other factors are making the camellia more susceptible--much like you are more likely to catch the flu when tired. For example, being planted too deep, buried in mulch or near a gutter downspout outlet are all factors that could weaken the plant, making it more susceptible.

Answered by Consulting Arborist Ed Milhous of Haymarket, Va.;

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Title Annotation:Q&A; fungal canker disease
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2014
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