Sunday, March 7, 2010

Preemptive Strike

Last summer the spider mites about did in my Alberta spruces. It didn't matter how often I blasted those tree-blood-sucking crawling web-building red dots off with the hose, they kept coming back. I bought some Bonide all-season horticultural oil, the kind that comes in the hose-ready bottle, but I couldn't get the mixing feature on the bottle to work.

And the mites kept on eating. The shrubs looked so brown and bad, especially the taller one, I was afraid at first to put my Christmas lights on them, lest they catch on fire. I went ahead and lit them up, but I had to wonder if that would be the last season I could. Bad as they looked, by next Christmas those Albertas could be gone.

It was a comparatively warm afternoon today, in the 50s, ideal for applying dormant oil. Recently I learned that spider mites actually do most of their chewing damage in the cool spring months, then, when the hot sun hits the stressed plant in the summer, it turns brown and you see those needles go dead. I didn't really want to go out and apply dormant oil once I got home from church; I wanted to take a nice nap. But who knows what the weather's going to do this coming week, and who knows if I'd be able to get to it again before I go into the hospital for my operation the end of this month. By the time I've recuperated enough to go out and deal with it in mid-May, the spider mites will be most of the way through their yearly feast. Bye-bye bushes!

Yeah, but that applicator bottle is not working!

Never mind. I have a garden sprayer and I could mix up the dormant oil and water in that and get it done.
But that garden sprayer isn't working, either!

Yes, it is. I just didn't connect all the parts right when I last used it two years ago. Mix up the dormant oil and go prevent some spidermite damage!

And I did. I sprayed both the little trees as thoroughly as I could, inside and out. It wasn't easy, since the needles are pretty dense on sides where the mites didn't eat them away last year. Hope it works. Those Alberta spruces make good anchors for what I'm trying to put together in my front border and I'd hate to lose them.

No comments: