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QUESTION

I’m wondering if this is tea mite damage? This bronzing is on most of my camellias. ‘Tinsie’ is the worst affected and has been declining every year. I thought it was lack of watering until I recently identified this possible problem in a book. Do you have a cure suggestion, please?

Sally, Garden Clinic Member via email.
 

ANSWER

Yes, it is tea mite, an increasing problem of some camellias. Most miticides are either very toxic or banned for home gardeners. See article on azaleas in this issue. I suggest spraying both sides of the leaves weekly from mid-spring with Yates Nature’s Way Vegie and Herb Spray – Natrasoap or econeem. Feed with Kahoona and mulch with a manure or compost. New growth will recover, no need to remove.

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