Camellia With Sooty Mold

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Just wondering if anyone has been successful in reducing or eliminating Sooty Mold on a camelia shrub. We have a nice camelia by our deck, but the black fungus is making quite a mess, and it takes a LOT of scrubbing to remove it from the deck boards.

I think ants bring pests that cause this problem so I am trying ant bait, but the problem does not seem to be getting better.
 

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Camellias are quite common around here, very much like rhododendrons with similar needs. I don't think you can make tea from them though (at least not that I have heard of). Some of them bloom in late winter, and the leaves are usually glossy green and quite pretty. This one is only watered in the summer during hot dry weather; apart from that it gets rain the rest of the year. Could be that I need to spray it with water through those dry months, to keep the leaves hydrated better? I have considered hand washing the leaves with a baking soda solution, but the I think again and tell myself how crazy that would be. There are an awful lot of leaves.

Funny thing is we have another camellia that quickly grew to over 10 feet tall. It was jammed under the overhang of the roof, and was ruining the soffits and blocking all of the light to the den so we chopped it down--- but it keeps growing back. It even survived for 2 years under a black plastic 10 gallon pot. No sooty mold, and healthy as can be.
 

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Camellias are quite common around here, very much like rhododendrons with similar needs. I don't think you can make tea from them though (at least not that I have heard of). Some of them bloom in late winter, and the leaves are usually glossy green and quite pretty. This one is only watered in the summer during hot dry weather; apart from that it gets rain the rest of the year. Could be that I need to spray it with water through those dry months, to keep the leaves hydrated better? I have considered hand washing the leaves with a baking soda solution, but the I think again and tell myself how crazy that would be. There are an awful lot of leaves.

Funny thing is we have another camellia that quickly grew to over 10 feet tall. It was jammed under the overhang of the roof, and was ruining the soffits and blocking all of the light to the den so we chopped it down--- but it keeps growing back. It even survived for 2 years under a black plastic 10 gallon pot. No sooty mold, and healthy as can be.

i would remove the one having mold problems and transplant a part of the other one. it may be the location that is the problem for various reasons (dripping water off the roof/eaves, not enough air flow, etc.)... hard to diagnose from a distance.

washing with baking soda solution would probably not be a good idea. cutting back the moldy parts (cleaning the pruners between each cut) during a drier time of the season may reduce the infection, but you really don't know if it will work if there is some other factor going on that is encouraging the mold.

not many species of ants work with mold, but they can spread it via their aphid herding if you see aphids on the plant spray them off or use some insecticidal soap on them. otherwise i'd be curious if there was some other kind of insect damage happening to encourage the mold.
 
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