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A Calendar For

Camellia Growers


Camellia Flower


Prepared For

The Coushatta Camellia Society

Conroe, Texas

2006



 



Contributors



Principal Contributors


Alfus and Bertha Johnson

Hyman Norsworthy

Frank W.R. Hubert




Contributors


Robert and Betty Henry

W.B. and Ruby Knox

Pat and Eva McMurrey

Boyd and Lorena McRee



 


Editor


Frank W.R.

Hubert










A Comment from the Editor:

A trial draft of this calendar on camellia culture was distributed to members of the Coushatta Camellia Society at the October meeting in 1990. Those members who used the calendar, and others who received it were invited to share their comments and suggestions for improving it with the editor or with any contributor.

In 1998, Jackie Wells, President of the Society from 1997 to 1999, asked me for permission to reprint the original publication. My response was that with the collaboration of Hyman Norsworthy, and some revisions of my own, I would be pleased to see the "trial draft" brought up to date. This publication is the result. It is dedicated to all members of the Coushatta Camellia Society - past, present, and those yet to come. I especially would like to memorialize those individuals, now deceased, whose contributions, whether through committee work of cookie recipes, meant so much to the Society.


Frank W.R. Hubert

Bryan, Texas

March 1998









GEOGRAPHICAL REGION OF

THE COUSHATTA CAMELLIA SOCIETY


13-County Region, Southeast Texas






THE COUSHATTA CAMELLIA SOCIETY

CALENDAR

Purpose of the Calendar

This calendar is intended primarily for use by members of the Coushatta Camellia Society (CCS) in Conroe, Texas, although other camellia growers in areas with a similar environment may find it useful. When the first and tentative draft of the calendar was developed during the 1990-91 growing season, it was planned that the calendar would be revised from time to time as proved to be useful, and as new products and technologies became available to the home-grower.

Basically, the calendar suggests a month-by-month time frame within which the camellia grower may carry out certain practices associated with the cultivation of camellias. In other words, it suggests "what -to-do" and "when-to-do-it" for a selected range of activities for growing camellias.

The Environment of the Coushatta

The Suggestions made in this calendar are primarily intended for use by camellia growers in a thirteen county area of southeast Texas, with approximate boundaries as follows:

The North boundary is a line eastward to Jasper and on to the Sabine River;
The East boundary is the Sabine River from a point near Burkeville south to Sabine Pass;
The South boundary is a line form Sabine Pass westward to Houston; and
The West boundary is a line from Houston north to Huntsville, along the route of Interstate Highway 45.

The map depicts the location of the area included within these boundaries. The numbers placed under the names of selected cities indicate the normal average rainfall in inches at that location, and the average dates for the last freeze in spring and the first freeze in fall or winter.

For example, an entry such as this:

Coldspring
48.0
3/5- 11/21

indicates that for Coldspring, Texas the normal annual rainfall over the past several years has been 48 inches, and that the average last freeze date in the spring is March 5, and the average first freeze date in the fall or winter is November 21. These data were obtained from The Texas Almanac: 1990-1991.

Within this thirteen county area there are more than 11,300 square miles (4.25% of the state total) in which reside more than 5,100,000 people (more than 30% of the state's total). The native vegetation of this southeastern corner of Texas (excluding the coastal plains) is comprised of pine and hardwood forests. The principal tree types are loblolly pine, shortleaf pine, sweet gum, and red oak. Soil types are generally slightly acid clays, sands, and mixtures of these with loam type soils. The Big Thicket National Preserve is within the area boundaries, and the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation (from whence comes the Coushatta Camellia Society name) is in the north central part of the region. Many Texans refer to this part of the state as the southern portion of the "Piney Woods" of Texas.

Limitations of the Calendar

Because of its very nature, this calendar, like similar efforts " when" and "what" to do about growing plants, has its limitations. Some of these limitations are listed here for the user to consider.

  1. The geographical are considered by this calendar has its own variations in the conditions under which camellias are grown. For example, the normal average rainfall varies from a low of 42.6 inches in Houston to a high of 59.2 inches in Orange - a difference of 16.6 inches annually. There are variations in many other environmental factors, and the grower should use reasonable judgment in considering the suggestions of this calendar.

  2. For most practices, suggestions are made as to "when to" and "what to" but not "how to". For example, the calendar will suggest an appropriate time for disbudding camellia plants, but it will not tell the user "how-to-disbud."  To compensate for this limitation, the reader will observe at various places throughout the calendar, notations in parentheses such as these:

    (ACS Journal. Vol. 41, No. 4. 86, pp. 8-11), or
    (Yearbook. 1982:p. 13),or
    (The Camellia, p. 105)

    The first notation above indicates that in Vol. 41, No 4, of the Camellia Journal (published by the American Camellia Society), the reader will find an article written b;y a camellias grower which tells why and how to disbud and more.

    The second notation in parentheses gives only a year and a page number. This tells the reader that on page 13 of the American Camellia Yearbook for 1982, there will be an article on how to disbud. The specific article in this instance is "The A-B-C's of Disbudding," and first appeared in the Camellia Bulletin of the San Diego Camellia Society.

    The third notation indicates that on page 105 of The Camellia (an excellent reference book on the history, culture, genetics, and future of the camellia) will be found an article on disbudding.

    The first two of these publications, the Journal and the Yearbook, come with membership in the ACS. The third publication, The camellia, is published by ACS and is available for purchase at a reasonable price.

  3. The calendar is further limited by the fact that only three years of the ACS Journal (1986-1988) and ten years of the Yearbook (1978-1987) were used to give references on "how-to" practices. Journals and Yearbooks before and after those dates have excellent articles telling how to perform the full range of cultural practices.
  4. Another limitation has to do with the variety of cultivation practices typical for a large area such as the Coushatta region.

Organization of the Calendar

The calendar will be presented in monthly segments, starting with October (because that's generally considered to be the beginning of the blooming season).

For each month, selected activities, or cultivation practices, associated with camellia culture will be discussed. In a month when a practice or activity doesn't apply, or is non-operative at that particular time, a reference may be made to the month when the practice under consideration is usually carried out or references to the practice will be omitted. The practices selected for discussion are these:

  1. Buying New Plants
  2. Planting or Transplanting
  3. Fertilizing, including micro-nutrients
  4. Disbudding
  5. Pruning
  6. Spraying
  7. Gibbing
  8. Grafting

 




OCTOBER

Buying New Plants

  1. Container plants may be bought in any month of the year.

  2. Blooming periods approximate these time indications: (from Camellia Nomenclature. 1987, Southern California Camellia Society).
    Early blooming cultivars: prior to January 1.
    Mid-season blooming cultivars: Jan 1 to March.
    Late blooming cultivars: March and later.
    Many buyers prefer to buy new plants when they are in bloom so they can see the color, size, form, and type of growth.

  3. Buy from reputable nurseries and insist on healthy plants. Plants should have good growth, healthy green leaves, and white roots. Ask the nursery to remove the plant from the container so the roots can be examined.

  4. Many buyers prefer only grafted plants.

  5. Check for signs or symptoms of dieback and avoid these plants. (Camellia, p. 266)

  6. Plants with single trunks are preferred by some growers.

  7. Buy cultivars which have a record of doing well in your locality.

  8. When you see a plant that you just can't do without--buy it.

Planting and Transplanting

  1. Transplanting a new camellia from a container into the ground can be done at almost any time of the year. Protect it from the sun and wind and keep the soil moist. Mulch it well during the summer months. (Camellia, p.43).

  2. Overcast days, even with some drizzle or light rain, are better suited to transplanting, especially when roots might be exposed long enough to become dry under normal conditions.

  3. Follow special precautions when moving an in-the-ground plant from one location to another. (Camellia, pp. 42-47)
Refer to November and December

Fertilizing

Throughout this monograph, Hyman Norsworthy is the contributor for the sections on fertilizing.

  1. (Norsworthy) For container plants.
    October 1st: use the following mixture as indicated:
    5 partsCotton seed meal
    1 partMicronutrients (Peters Essential Minerals)
    1 partFerrous sulfate
    1.5 partsAmmonium nitrate

    Plant Height     Use
    2 to 3 feet 2 Teaspoons of mix
    3 to 5 feet 1 Tablespoon
    5 to 7 feet 1.5 Tablespoons

    Water plants well immediately after applications.

Disbudding

(Note: Disbudding is the practice of removing surplus flower buds from plants. Refer to June).

Pruning

  1. Very light pruning may be done at any time of the year. Consider using a mixture of 1 tablespoon of Cleary 3336 and 1 tablespoon of Captan to apply to the wound.

  2. Most pruning activities are carried out at the end of the blooming season. ACS Journal. Vol. 43, No 1, Feb. 1988, pp. 17-18.

  3. For other references on pruning, see:
    ACS Journal. Vol. 43, No. 3, Aug., 1988, p 30.
    1978 ACS Yearbook, p. 17; 1983 Yearbook, p. 13.
    The Camellia, p. 90-104.

Gibbing

(Note: Gibberellic acid is used to encourage plants to bloom earlier than they ordinarily would. It also produces larger blooms and, in some cases, a more intense color. For references on how to gib see: The Camellia, p. 311-317: ACS Journal. Vol. 4, No. 3, Aug. 87, p. 4. Also Vol. 43, No 3, Aug. 88, p. 11; 1981 ACS Yearbook, p. 29 and 36.) Gibberellic acid powder is available from the American Camellia Society.

Refer to August and September for gibbing late blooming retics and retic hybrids for November and December shows.

  1. (Norsworthy) Gib on dates indicated for the Houston show:
    Bloom season Gib week of
    Early Last week of October
    Mid Mid-October
    Mid to Late October 1

  2. Develop your own gibbing schedule and keep a record of the time required from application of the gibberellic acid to attainment of a full bloom. A few of the variables which affect the time element are the cultivar, its condition and age, the size of the flower bud, temperature changes, and humidity.

Grafting

Air layer grafts: For those of you who started air-layers last May or June (see those months), now is the time to remove the air-layer graft and plant it in a container. Keep the graft in the container for a year before putting it in the ground.

(The Camellia, p. 189)
(ACS Yearbook. 1980, P. 181)



 




NOVEMBER

Buying New Plants

  1. Refer to October.

  2. Bare-rooted plants should be planted early in order for them to be well established before the hot summer months.

  3. Numerous cultivars are showing color now; some early bloomers will be in full blossom. November is a good month for buying plants.

Planting and Transplanting

  1. From mid-November to mid-February is the preferred time for planting and transplanting. (1980 ACS Yearbook, p. 61)

  2. Bare-rooted plants have a better survival rate when planted between mid-November and mid-February. This is also the preferred period for re potting plants (moving up to a larger container).

  3. Hold re potted plants for at least 3 months before planting them in the ground

  4. The diameter of the replacement container should be only 2 inches larger than the original container. When trans-planting from a container to the ground, the diameter and depth of the hole should be at least twice that of the container. After the plant has settled in its new location, its depth should be the same as it was before transplanting. Avoid planting too deep as this is a common cause of plant failure.

Fertilizing

  1. (Norsworthy) For container plants: November 1st.
    Repeat October 1st specifications.

Gibbing

  1. (Norsworthy) Gib as indicated for the Conroe Show:
    Bloom Season Gib Week of
    Mid November 19
    Mid to late November 12

  2. A general rule: don't treat more than 1/4 of the buds on a single plant. Also, avoid gibbing 1 and 2 year old plants. ACS Journal. Vol. 43, No. 3, Aug. 88, p. 11).

Grafting

  1. Air-layers. Finish removing the air-layers that were late in developing a root system. Plant in pots and retain for one year before transplanting into the ground.

Mulching

  1. Check all mulched areas and add new mulch, as an additive or as a replacement, as needed.



 




DECEMBER

Buying New Plants

  1. A good month for buying larger plants.

  2. Refer to October and November.

Planting and Transplanting

  1. Refer to November.

  2. The planting distance between plants should take into account the growth habit of the cultivar.

  3. The planting site should provide a balance of shade and sunshine in the summer, some shade in the winter, and protection from severe winter winds.

  4. The site should also be well drained, in a slight to moderate acid soil (5.5 to 6.5 pH).

  5. See January for another soil formula.

Fertilizing

  1. (Norsworthy) For container plants, mid-December apply cotton seed meal.

  2. Small plants 2 to 3 feet:2 tsp
    Medium plants3 to 5 feet:1 TBS
    Large plants5 to 7 feet:1.5 TBS

Spraying - Insecticides and Fungicides

  1. Check plants for red spider mites - particularly green house plants.  Spray with a good niticide, such as Vendex 50 WP.
    Also malathion is effective as is kelthane, or Pentax.  Follow label directions

  2. Use protective clothing - such as gloves, a mask, etc. Spray when the wind is calm - usually early mornings or late evenings.

Gibbing

  1. (Norsworthy) Gib early blooming cultivars the first week in the month for the Conroe show.



 




JANUARY

Buying New Plants

  1. Refer to December.

Planting and Transplanting

  1. Refer to November and December.

  2. Another Coushatta area soil mix; Conroe area (Knox):
    • 1 part Sunshine potting soil mix (commercial)
    • 1 part sheep manure
    • 1 part potting soil
    • 1 part sand

  3. Another soil mix (not in the Coushatta area, but from North Texas).  Equal parts by volume of:
    • Pine bark mulch
    • Washed, coarse, children's play sand.
    • That's it.
    • (ACS Journal. Vol. 41, No.3, Aug. 86, p. 6)

  4. On soil mixes, and all other aspects of camellia culture, if yours is working for you--keep it.

Fertilizing

  1. (Norsworthy) For container plants.  January 15th.  Use Rapid-Gro solution (1 tablespoon per gallon).
    Small plants 2 to 3 feet:1 pint
    Medium plants3 to 5 feet:1 quart
    Large plants5 to 7 feet:2 quarts

    Note:  When using liquid fertilizer, water the plants well the day before.

Grafting

  1. Cleft Grafting. Start cleft grafting on root stock in container. These are good references on how to do cleft-grafting.
    • (The Camellia, p. 169)
    • (ACS Yearbook. 1980, p. 42 and p. 46)
    • (ACS Yearbook. 1985, p. 33 and p. 38)
    • (ACS Journal. Vol. 41, No. 4, Nov. 86, pp. 2-6)



 




FEBRUARY

Buying New Plants

  1. Refer to December.

Planting and Transplanting

  1. Refer to previous months.

Fertilizing

  1. (Norsworthy) For container plants apply cottonseed meal.
    Small plants 2 to 3 feet:1 TBS
    Medium plants3 to 5 feet:1.5 TBS
    Large plants5 to 7 feet:2 TBS

Pruning

  1. Major pruning can begin as early as February at the end of the blooming season and before the temperatures rise and new growth begins. Heavy and severe pruning can rejuvenate old plants and produce significant new growth and blooms.

  2. Complete pruning as early as possible before new growth begins and before dieback becomes active.

  3. Use a Cleary/Captan spray on all wounds caused by pruning (or any other cause) 1 TBS Cleary 3336, 1 TBS Captan per gallon of water. For larger pruning wounds (those limbs exceeding 3/8' diameter), paint the wound with a preserver such as TreeKote®  Refer to October for the references to Cleary/Captan.

Spraying - Insecticides and Fungicides

  1. Check again for spider mites and follow December suggestions.

Grafting

  1. Continue cleft grafting on root stock growing in containers.


 




MARCH

Buying New Plants

  1. Refer to December.

Fertilizing

  1. (Norsworthy) March 15. Plants in Containers. Use the following mixture:
    • 6 parts cottonseed meal
    • 3 parts 8-8-8
    • 1.5 parts wood ashes
    • Apply same amount as for February

  2. (Norsworthy) Plants in the ground:
    6 Partscotton seed meal | small plant use1/3 cup
    5 parts8-8-8 | medium plant use2/3 cup
    1.5 partswood ashes | large plant use1 cup

Pruning

  1. See February.

Spraying

  1. The beginning of the new growth season brings the possibility of various insects, and continues on through the summer and fall.

  2. Check for aphids, scale, mites, and whatever, and apply insecticides where appropriate. Ask your local nursery for suggestions.

  3. To control tea scale and some chewing insects, paint a 4" band of the main trunk of each plant (starting 3" above ground level) with full strength Cygon 2E. Follow label instructions; use glove and a mask. Where this method is used to control tea scale, the programs for April and September may be omitted for tea scale.

  4. When spraying new growth, use a weakened solution (by) 1/2 the usual amount) to prevent leaf burn.

  5. Check all plants for leaf drop and spray as needed. Leaf drop opens a wound for possible attack of dieback (glomerella cingulata). Spray with a mixture of Captan and Cleary 3336. Repeat every week to 10 days. Continue this spray at anytime the plant is "wounded" such as a scuff mark, a scratch by a tool, a falling limb that breaks through the bark, leaf drop, pruning shears, etc.

  6. Good references on insect and disease problems are:
    • ACS Journal. Vol.43, No. 2, May '88, pp. 23-25.
    • ACS Journal. Vol. 41, No. 3, Aug. '86, pp. 21-22.
    • Yearbook. 1984. p. 4, 12, 18.
    • The Camellia p. 231, 239, 254, 261.

Grafting

  1. Continue grafting on root stock growing in containers.

  2. Now is a good time to do cleft grafts on stock growing in the ground.

Mulching

  1. Remove old mulch and replace with new mulch (pine straw, ground oak leaves, pine bark, etc...).
    • (The Camellia. p. 71 - 74)
    • (ACS Journal. Vol 43, No. 1, Feb. '88, pp. 17-18)
    • (ACS Journal. Vol. 41, No. 2, May '86, pp. 16 - 19)



 




APRIL

Buying New Plants

  1. Refer to October.

Fertilizing

  • (Norsworthy) Plants in containers.  April 15th. Use the following mixture:
    • 6 parts cottonseed meal
    • 2 parts 12-24-12
    • 1 part Peters (micronutrients). Brand name is Essential Minerals.
  • Apply in same quantities as for March.
  • Pruning

    1. See February.

    Spraying

    1. Check again for spider mites, and use Pentax (or other appropriate insecticide), where needed. Be sure to spray the under-side of the leaves.

    2. Check for insects (grasshoppers, beetles), and where present use Orthene 75 WP or Malathion.

    3. Another treatment for scale is a dormant oil application (several manufactures). Note:  The best one appears to be: Sunspray Ultra Fine Oil Spray. Use only when temperature is between 40 - 85°F. Read the label. Good references on dormant spray are: ACS Journal. Vol. 41, No., Feb. 86, pp. 9-10; also ACS Journal. Vol. 43, No. 1, Feb. 88, p. 26.

    4. Refer to #5 for March.

    Mulching

    1. Complete the removal of old mulch and replace with new mulch.

    2. One contributor (Knox) makes this suggestion: mulch with 6 inches of pine straw two feet in diameter around the plant. Around the outer perimeter of the pine straw, put bark mulch to hold the pine straw in place. This method allows the water to go directly to the root ball through the pine straw, and the bark mulch helps retain the water and prevents its running off. This method of mulching is to prepare the plant for the hot summer months.



 




MAY

Buying New Plants

  1. Refer to October.

Fertilization

  1. (Norsworthy) Plants in containers. May 15th.  Foliar feed BR61 in solution; 1 Tablespoon per gallon. BR61 is 9-59-8, and is manufactured by Carl Pool Corporation. Fertilome has similar product called Rooting and Blooming and the mix is also 9-59-8. Follow labels directions. Other manufactures have similar products.

  2. (Norsworthy) Plants in the ground. Last two weeks of May (after growth hardens) use the following mix:
    • 5 parts cotton seed meal
    • 3 parts azalea-camellia-gardenia mix
    • 1 part super-phosphate

  3. Apply as follows according to height:
    • 2 to 3 feet    1/2 cup
    • 3 to 5 feet    1 cup
    • 5 to 7 feet    1-1/2 cup

Spraying

  1. Check all plants and treat as needed.

Grafting

  1. Start air layer grafts on wood that is newly hardened.



 




JUNE

Buying New Plants

  1. Refer to October

Fertilizing

  1. (Norsworthy) Plants in containers.  First week of June. Cotton seed meal: same mix and application as in February.

  2. (Norsworthy) Plants in containers.  June 15th.  Foliar feed BR 61 as in May.

Disbudding

  1. Disbudding may begin when a clear differentiation is visible between the flower buds and the vegetative or leaf buds. Although some early blooming cultivars may show this distinction as early as June, most growers in the region begin disbudding activities in July.

  2. Dis budding too early may cause the plant to expend needless energy in producing new buds.

  3. Plants with numerous buds in one setting (grape-like) should be disbudded as early as possible when a differentiation is clear and certain.

  4. Refer to July

Spraying

  1. Check all plants and treat as needed.

Grafting

  1. Complete your air layering this month.



 




JULY

Buying New Plants

  1. Refer to October

Fertilizing

  1. (Norsworthy) Plants in containers. Cotton seed meal as in February.

Disbudding

  1. Disbudding activities usually begin in earnest during July. Again, the distinction between flower bud and leaf bud should be well established.

  2. Leave one flower bud in the terminal position. Where possible keep the terminal bud which has the lesser obstruction to bloom opening and the best protection from falling objects which might injure the blossom.

  3. Disbudding may continue on a monthly basis through July, August and September.
    (The Camellia: p. 105-109) (ACS Yearbook, 1982: p. 13)
    (ACS Journal, Vol. 41, No.4; Nov. 1986, pp. 9-10)

  4. As a precaution against dieback, you may want to use a spray bottle and spray a mixture of Cleary 3336 (1 TBS) and Captan (1 TBS per gallon of water) on the wounds caused by disbudding.

Spraying

  1. Check all plants and treat as needed.



 




AUGUST

Buying New Plants

  1. Refer to October

Fertilizing

  1. (Norsworthy) Plants in containers. Foliar spray BR61.

Disbudding

  1. Refer to June and July.

Spraying

  1. Check all plants and treat as needed.

Gibbing

  1. (Norsworthy) Gib late blooming relics and retic hybrids now for the November and December shows. If plants are not kept moist, bud blasting may occur with early gibbing of retics.



 




SEPTEMBER

Buying New Plants

  1. Refer to October

Fertilizing

  1. (Norsworthy) Plants in containers. Foliar spray BR61.

  2. (Norsworthy) Plants is the ground. Early September: Repeat the March program at 1/2 strength, plus the addition of 1 part full measure superphosphate. Apply as Follows:
    2 to 3 ft. plants1/4 cup
    3 to 5 ft. plants1/2 cup
    5 to 7 ft. plants3/4 cup

Gibbing

  1. (Norsworthy) Gib "Tomorrows", "Carter's Sunbursts", etc. for the November shows.

  2. Continue retic gibbing as in August.

Grafting

  1. Air layers. Examine air layer grafts done in October and November to check for root development.