Home and Building, Volume 18 Number 1 (June 1955)
Continuation of article in May issue.
Bud dropping occurs as follows: General: Some varieties have a tendency to drop their buds or have such a tendency in certain localities due to petal formation in flowers or to the fact that they bloom so late the new growth forces the buds to fall. Bud heading: The buds begin to open, moist rot sets in, and they fall. Natural: When a plant sets too many buds, nature sometimes steps in and thins them. Mass dropping: In a variety that usually does not drop its buds, there will sometimes occur a mass dropping.
It seems to be the consensus of present opinion that the forces of bud dropping, except in those varieties that are bud droppers by nature, are: (1) Faulty culture, such as improper watering, improper planting or soil, insufficient drainage or failure to use a balanced fertiliser either properly or at all; (2) A prolongedpage 78
weather condition, such as a long dry season or a long wet one; and (3) A sudden change of temperature.
There is a great need for intensive research in this field.
Flower Blight (Sclerotina Camelliae Hara) is a fungus disease. It is disclosed by brown or blackish spots appearing on the opening flower and spreading on the petals of the flower as it develops. The best control now known is to pick up all old flowers that fall around the plant and remove all affected flowers from the plant, being sure that each and every petal is removed. There has also been some experimentation with a fermate spray, which, however, is rather a difficult process. As to this spray, check with the Department of Agriculture.
Akaline Poisoning: This can be detected where the foliage turns yellow with its veins remaining green, the foliage taking on a mottled appearance. If this condition continues, the foliage becomes dead at the tips and along the edges and ultimately will cause the death of the plant. This condition can be checked by the application of soil sulphur or a liquid acid soil conditioner as directed.
Virus Disease: This disease can be detected by yellow mottled foliage on the plant. Experimentation has disclosed that this mottling is due to a genetic character which follows a uniform pattern in all leaves, or virus which is not as regular and varies from plant to plant or on the same plant. The yellow variegation is mostly of the virus type. Virus is a disease which can be transferred by grafting although not by handling plants, while in cases of the genetic character it can be transferred. In grafting, virus may cause the scion of a solid coloured variety to variegate, but many such variegations are due to a true genetic character. Such virus does not seem to affect the vigour of the plant. There is at present no known cure for the disease.
Improper Culture: Browning on upper surfaces of leaves or definitely dead brown areas on any part of leaf surfaces discloses sunburn and the plant should be given more protection.
General yellowing of the foliage discloses insufficient fertiliser, insufficient water or poor drainage.
Yellowing of foliage with veins remaining green discloses alkaline poisoning. Under no circumstances should a spray material containing D.D.T. be used on camellias as it is very harmful to some varieties, causing dropping of foliage, dying back of leaf buds and in some cases death of the plant.
In spraying, be sure that all parts of the plant are covered, especially the underneath portion of the foliage.
Leaf Scurf: This is characterised by raised, corky outgrowths generally on the under surface of the leaves. The corky spots may occur in small groups or cover large areas, and usually appear irregularly rather than in a particular pattern.
Research has not been able to determine the exact cause of this scurf, but has determined that it is probably due to a physiological disturbance brought about by improper growing conditions rather than by a parasitic disease. There are, however, other types of scabby lesions occurring in the South which are caused by fungus.page 80
Pruning: There is a difference of opinion as to the necessity of and the time to prune camellias. However, camellias do need shaping, some more than others.
Branches having a tendency to grow irregularly should be straightened by pruning or staking. Wild growth should be pruned back and weak growth should be removed. Varieties with a spindly or loose habit of growth can be induced to bush by pruning. Branches lying on or too near to the ground should be removed to prevent insects from having an easy access to the plant.
In pruning, if possible, cut back no further than two eyes on the last cycle of growth by making a clean slanting cut with a sharp knife or pruners.
Pruning should be done just after the blooming season and just before the first cycle of growth as a majority of the flower buds form on this cycle; and pruning after the first cycle may remove most of the flowers. Pruning can also be done at the time of picking flowers, if desired.
Do not prune the upright stem of Chandleri Elegans or "Francine" until the growth has reached the desired height. The growth will be mostly lateral once the upright central stem is cut.
Disbudding: Varieties producing heavy bud crops should be disbudded to obtain better and larger fiowers. By mid-summer flower buds may usually be distinguished from leaf buds. Terminal buds should be thinned to one, or not more than two and those along the stem should be spaced at least 2 inches apart.
If possible, leave buds at various stages of development so that the blossoms will not all mature within a short time of each other.
Mulching: In the hot summer and early autumn months it is beneficial to the plants to maintain a one inch mulch of peat moss or leaf mould to protect the surface roots. This practice will also save much watering.
Transplanting: Many of us enjoy moving plants either when we can find nothing further to do in the care of our camellias or when there is need for such removal.
The transplanting of camellias can be accomplished successfully even with large specimens during their dormant period from April to September. The plant should be moist before removal.page 82
There is no necessity to ball in burlap unless the plant is to be moved some distance or is to remain out of the ground for a period of time. As large a root ball as possible should be taken with the plant.
Cut the surface of the soil around the plant of the approximate size of the root ball to be taken with a straight neck square blade shovel. Then sink the shovel as deep as possible around the plant in the cut first made so that when the soil is dug away it will not tear or break the roots. Then dig the soil from around the ball as cut. When this is done, slide the shovel under the ball and loosen the ball and remove to the new location.
When balling in burlap is necessary, small and medium size plants can be dug as above described and set out on a square of burlap which should then be tied securely around the root ball and at the stem of the plant. With larger plants, it is generally better to ball in burlap in the hole. This can be done as follows: Tunnel under the plant; slip the burlap through the tunnel so that part is exposed at each end; cut one side of ball and draw burlap up on that side; cut other side of ball and draw burlap up on that side; tie burlap securely around ball and remove from hole.
The same planting procedure should be followed as set forth except it is generally advised to place only sufficient soil around the plant to hold it in position and then fill hole with water containing B-1 solution, allowing the solution to soak into roots before back filling the hole. It is not necessary to remove the burlap, just cut string from around stem of plants and fold back.
It is best not to transplant on a hot doy, but if such a day occurs on or immediately subsequent to the transplanting, a protecting of cheese cloth or burlap should be placed over the plant for a few days. No fertiliser should be used for a period of at least six months.
1. Cuttings: Facilities: A cold frame is usually the most practical way to root cuttings, and consists of an airtight frame of the following dimensions Six feet wide and length desired; 18 to 24 inches high at the back, sloping to 12 to 18 inches at the front. The top is covered with a glass sash. The frame can be placed on the ground and the bottom should be covered with two inches of gravel to aid drainage and topped with 2 inches of sand to hold moisture and build up humidity. On top of the sand 1 by 1-inch garden stakes should be criss-crossed so that the flats will sit above the sand for better drainage and circulation of air. The frame should face south and be placed under lath or trees where filtered sunlight is available, as the protective care required when they are in the full sun, is excessive. If desired a heating device can be placed in the frame with a regulated temperature of 65 degrees to 70 degrees. Also, if available, cuttings, can be made on a bench in a glass house.
Bedding plant flats make the best containers for planting. Wash the flats and fill all cracks with sphagnum moss. Then fill the flat with thoroughly washed sand, and pack tight. Peat moss is sometimes mixed with the sand to be placedpage 84
in the flat in the ratio of about 1/3 peat moss and 2/3 sand.
Time to Make: Cuttings can be made after each of the two cycles of growth has sufficiently hardened, that is, in the winter from about June and in the summer from about November to December.
Selection of Cuttings: Tip cuttings from the Jast cycle of growth with two or three eyes of leaf buds and at least 2 to 3 inches long are generally the best. However, inside cuttings with only 1 leaf bud can be used. In taking cuttings, use a sharp knife or pruners and cut on a slant, leaving at least one and preferably two leaf buds on the last cycle of growth.
Preparation of Cuttings: Where space is limited, strip all but the top leaf from the cutting, and cut this leaf in half. If space is not limited, a cutting with two or three leaves and leaf buds can be used. However it is generally best to cut all leaves in half, although full leaf cuttings can be made. Just before planting make a clean slanting cut at the bottom with a sharp knife, preferably just below a leaf bud, although this is not necessary.
If more than one variety is placed in the flat, each variety can be labelled and separated with pot labels placed in the sand. Rooting media are sometimes used, but in tests no particular benefit has been noted.
When the flat is filled, place on the stakes in the cold frame with air space between each flat, and water in with a fine spray until the sand is smooth.
Care: The sand in the bottom of the frame should be kept moist at all times to aid in building up humidity.
The cuttings should not be allowed to dry out but should only be watered whenpage 86
a need is disclosed. This can be determined by pressing a portion of the sand in the flat between the fingers. If the sand is moist, no water is needed, if not, water lightly with a fine spray.
It is recommended that the frames be aired once a week on a cool day, or early in the morning, for approximately one to two hours to prevent any danger of fungus. However, never open a frame on a very hot day with low humidity.
When the temperature reaches 75 degrees a covering of cheese cloth should be placed over the frame, and on a very hot day of 90 degrees or more a double covering may be advisable. Where the frames are in the full sun, a heavy covering such as burlap should be used.
Removal from Frame: In summer, cuttings will root in approximately four months, and in winter in approximately six months in an unheated frame. However, some varieties such as Alba Plena will take much longer.
To determine whether the cuttings are ready to remove and pot, loosen an occasional cutting throughout the flat. If the average root formation is 2/3 or better, remove and transfer to a 2 to 21 inch pot, with a soil mixture of ¼ sandy loam and ¾ peat moss. If the average root formation is less than 2/3 leave the cuttings in the frame. Cuttings taken from the flat with a good white callus, but no roots, can be replaced in a flat and returned to the frame. However, if the callus or the tip of the cutting is black, throw it away. The newly potted cuttings should be thoroughly watered with a solution of B-1 and protected from the hot sun for a few days, after which they can be exposed to the sun under lath or trees.
Reason for Grafting: This method of propagation is used to produce plants which attain an earlier maturity and bloom with more vigorous growth than would be possible in plants on their own roots. In fact the time is at least cut in half.
Time of Grafting: Camellias are gene-ally grafted from about June to October 1st. However, summer grafting is possible as soon as the first cycle of growth hardens, and before the second cycle of growth begins, from about December to January.
Type of Graft: There are many types of grafts, but the ones generally used are the cleft graft in the winter and the bark graft in the summer. A cleft graft is generally preferred, although a bark graft is generally used in the summer due to the fact that during the summer growing period, when the bark is loose, a cleft graft will generally result in the misplacement of the bark or understock. A bark graft also allows the scion to have full and complete contact with a solid cambium layer on the understock, while in a cleft graft the cambium layers are matched only on one side. A bark graft cannot be used in the winter dormant season as the bark is not loose.
Tools and Materials: The tools and materials needed are a sharp knife, pruners, fine tooth saw and string or heat treated rubber bands.
Selection of Understock: The factors to look for in selecting understock are vigorous growth, soft wood, width of canbium layer, and ability to heal or callus rapidly. The best results can be obtained from vigorous seedlings and such named varieties as Sarah Frost, Ake-Bono, Purity, Pink Perfection, etc., with a preference for Sarah Frost. Understock which has been transplanted or fertilised just prior to grafting is not recommended.
Preparation of Understock: Cut the understock on a slant (so water accumulating will drain away from the scion) as low as practical (about 3 inches above the surface of the soil) with a pair of pruners on small understock aged 5 years or less, or with a saw on larger understock. Smooth the cut surface with a knife.page 88page breakpage break