By Beverly Adams, Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Assistant for the Extension
This disease is more common on sasanqua varieties of camellias than on Japanese camellia. It’s caused by the fungus Exobasidium camelliae. It also can occur on azaleas and hydrangeas.
The galls are most often seen during the spring flush of new growth. The new shoots and leaves become enlarged, thickened and fleshy and appear abnormal.
The color of the affected leaves changes from light green to nearly a white or pink color. Then later the galls will rupture on the bottom of the leaves and produce whiteish spores.
The galls will eventually harden and become brown. The good thing is plants are rarely damaged from this disease.
For prevention and or treatment: Remove and destroy young galls before the lower leaf surfaces turn white and spores are released, or it will come back next year and be much worse.
Practice good sanitation around plants by raking up and removing fallen leaves. Do not wet the leaves when watering.
Gall formations favor humid, moist, shady conditions. Chemical controls are limited in effectiveness and must be applied before the infection occurs.
However, you can spray with a product containing mancozeb such as Bonide Mancozeb Flowable with Zinc Concentrate or Southern Ag Dithane M-45. You should be able to find these at local big box stores.
You will need to start spraying them at bud break and continue through the first of June at seven to 14-day intervals.
Follow the instructions on the label for application.
We are here to help.
Even though our offices are closed to the public we have drop boxes out front for you to drop off your soil, water and plant samples. There are instructions on how to do this on the drop boxes.
We are currently teleworking, but you can call and leave a detailed message with your name, phone number and problem at 770-887-2418. One of the best ways to contact the Extension is by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a plant problem, please send a photo of the plant, description of when you noticed the problem, how many plants are affected and what is happening along with your contact information. Someone will be back in touch with you within 24 hours.