Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > May 2016 > IN THE DIRT with DOUG - WHAT TO DO ABOUT AZALEA AND CAMELLIA LEAF GALL

IN THE DIRT with DOUG - WHAT TO DO ABOUT AZALEA AND CAMELLIA LEAF GALL

Two or three years ago I did an article on gall that I titled “Of All the Gall”.  Well…I am back to write about gall again because it is back again this spring.
                It is not surprising to me that we have had a few customers within this past week bring in samples of thick, distorted growth off their camellia sasanqua shrubs and want to know what is going on with their plants.  Leaf gall is a common spring disease and the occurrence of the disease depends on the spring weather.  So, this year we have had a cool, wet spring and this is the ideal conditions for leaf gall.  Actually, your azaleas and camellias were infected least year when spores from a similarly swollen leaf were released.  And, then, our spring weather has activated the spores at this time.
                Exobasidium vaccinia is a fungus that causes leaves to enlarge abnormally and is commonly referred to as azalea or camellia leaf gall.
                Once the leaf gall forms on your azalea or camellia the best treatment is to pluck off the mal-formed leaves, put them in a plastic bag, and put in the garbage.  Do not drop them on the ground.  This disease relies on airborne spores produced in the whitish mold on the surface of galls.  Once the spores are formed and released, they are blown and washed to leaves where they will cause new infections next year.  BE SURE TO PICK OFF THE LEAF GALL BEFORE IT BEGINS TO TURN WHITE.  THIS IS THE STAGE WHEN NEW SPORES ARE PRODUCED.
                Once you see evidence of infected leaves, it’s too late for chemical control.  Matter of fact there currently is no effective or practical fungicide to control this disease.  However, it is thought that a weekly application of neem oil can reduce the number of viable mold spores.
                I just gave you another reason why to spend more time outside with your landscape and to enjoy our cool spring weather.            
                                                                                Happy Gardening
 
Posted: 5/18/2016 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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