Camellias and Hedges
I have two questions. I live in Auckland, New Zealand. . . Problem 1 - Camellia We have a standard red Camellia and large sections of the leaves are turning brown. The plant is not in direct sunlight and there is no sign of disease. Could it be the grass clipping mulch we have been putting around the trunk? The other consideration is that our neighbour may have poisoned it. Problem 2 - Evergreen hardy mature hedge Our neighbour poisoned our hedge and it died away. It is now sprouting new shoots in places. Is it possible to resurrect it? Any tips on how to care for it? I have been feeding it with general plant food.
Grass clippings should be composted before being used as a mulch. They rob nitrogen from the soil, the element camellia's love. Also, place the mulch no closer than 4'' to the trunk, this allows for air flow. Mulch should only be 4'' deep unless it's non-packing leaves like pine needles or oak leaves. You don't want the plant to smother.
Your hedge may be trimmed to encourage shrubby growth. I would not place a lot of stress on it by overfertilization. A light dose is advantageous, but let the plant "get it's wits gathered back up", before trying to push a lot of new growth. Once the hedge is growing, you can take up to 1/3 of the plant.