Thursday, July 30, 2009
Mite Damage on Camellias
Southern Red Mites love the southern garden evergreen staples: Japanese Camellia, Japanese Holly, Magnolia and Azlaea. It seems to be attracted to the Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica) more than the others, causing the leaves to become dull and silvery.
When I get called into a garden that is infested with the Southern Red Mites, it is most commonly confused with Sunscald.
This tiny pest (you need a hand lens to see them) is dormant right now, but once the temperatures cool down a bit, it will be back. All of the damage you see now actually occurred last winter and spring- it's frustrating.
If you had this pest in your garden or nursery last year, they will be back. The best product to use is Horticultural-Grade Oil (sometimes sold as "Ultrafine Oil"). Spray the leaves and stems with oil a few times in the fall and winter to essentially smother them.
*Southern Red Mites do not affect Sasanqua Camellias, only the Japanese Camellias