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help for my camellia please

James T
November 4, 2017


my dad got this camellia tree a month ago and the health of it seems to be deteriorating. I mulched it heavily in a donuts shape, sprinkled water on leaves and watered it quite often in the first week, however the roots was damaged during the transplant. but the main root ball is still in shape and good condition( only a few snapped off limbs). the leaves have become from yellow to a dry brown.( see picture for a info). what can i do to help it, please give advice

Comment (1)

  • luis_pr

    I would hesitate to water the leaves as this can increase the chances of fungal diseases and leaf spots. Just make sure the tree is planted slightly above the surrounding soil, maintain the soil well mulched -about 2 to 4" up to the drip line year around- and keep the soil as evenly moist as you can (what that means is prevent periods where the soil dries out then you water and it is moist and then it dries out again and so forth).

    Many of the tiny small roots in the top will absorb moisture so you can test the soil by inserting a finger to a depth of 4" to see if it feels dry or almost dry and then water. As for the amt of water needed, you may need to practice but try to see if a single watering gets the soil moist down to 8" or so. If it is going to be very windy, I would consider watering the night before (a special watering due to drying winds) if the finger soil test feels dry or almost dry. Probably not needed on a large tree but I like to TLC my camellias and hydrangeas. I guess it makes me feel like I am helping them. Ha! ;o))

    I suspect the root damage may cause some die-back (of leaves and branches) but nothing you cannot deal with. Dead wood can be pruned off at any time. I would pick up and throw in the trash leaves that have fallen so they will not spread the fungus spores. Consider pruning dead wood in Spring though.

    I typically provide some special sun protection to newly transplanted (small) camellias on their first summer. They will not be established plants by the start of the summer so a little extra shade is what I give them. But what I am talking about is something you may not be able to do much with such a large tree.

    I would not fertilize since that just stresses plants. The soil may already have enough minerals to last until Spring, when you can begin regular fertilizer applications. But I may add no nitrogen fertilizers during the winter if you happen to have mild winters.

    Here is a link with some more info:


    In sum: you have done pretty well moving such a big tree. Expect some dieback since it has fewer roots now than it used to. As long as it is watered and fertilized, it should recover. Wait until Spring to see leaf out and then, those areas without leaf out, they maaay be dead so evaluate what to prune. Feel free to give the tree an extra few weeks to leaf out if you want. Remember to water from the base of the tree outwards; this will et the root ball moist. Roots will eventually grow into your garden's soil but right now, they are none there yet so water the previous owner's original soil and a little of yours.

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