Camellias which are very old or which are starting to get in the way on paths can readily be pruned back as hard as you like with no ill effect. You can even cut off all the greenery and turn them back into a ‘hat stand’ without any worries about them reshooting vigorously from the main woody stems. After pruning a mulch of leaf mould or well rotted manure will encourage speedy regrowth.
Spot spray around base of trees and shrubs with a good contact herbicide I.E. Roundup.
Slug damage to the newly emerging buds and leaves on magnolias can be avoided by slug baiting around the plants. Ground based small slugs find magnolia leaf buds delicious and on wet and moist nights they can quietly strip your plant without you realising what the problem is. The plant either dies or suffers severe die back which is often only noticed later in the year when the blame is often directed at the nurseyman or garden centre. Take preventative action and repeat the application of slug pellets after heavy rain.
Hand weed young seedlings and larger potted specimens in glass house, cold frames, standing out beds. By removal of newly germinated weeds at a young age prevents seeding and saves a lot more work later in the year. Prick out any young seedlings that have germinated and have developed their true leaves. Watch out for damping off of seedlings, ventilate glass house well and avoid over watering. Ventilate glass house and cold frames on sunny days to reduce humidity and help prevent disease.
Slug bait any young seedlings in the glass house, and plants around the garden that have soft young growth especially Magnolia’s.
Control of sooty mould on Camellia’s. Sooty mould is a fungal growth which grows on honey dew secreted by insects, control these pests and then wipe off the mould with a damp cloth.
Magnolias in flower in the Burncoose Gardens in April.