Spotting and Treating Spider Mites on Trees

Spider mites on trees drive fear into the hearts of the most avid gardeners. They are difficult to get rid of, and a heavy infestation destroys plant leaves almost overnight. In this post, Professional Tree Service, one of the leading tree services in Gulfport, MS, explains how to deal with this common pest. 

How to Recognize Spider Mites on Trees

Effective control begins with recognizing the problem, and this can be challenging. At no more than a millimeter big, you need to pull out a magnifying glass to see that these are bugs and not dots. It’s most likely their movement that gives them away, so if you see black, brown, yellow, or red moving dots, it’s time to act. 

If you do get them under the magnifying glass, you’ll see that they resemble ticks or spiders and come in many different colors.

How Do Spider Mite Infestations Start? 

These tiny bugs can enter your yard in several ways. They may hitch a ride: 

  • On a plant you buy at a garden center.
  • By latching onto a sweater as you brush past infected outdoor plants. 
  • On a passing breeze.

The ease with which an infestation can start makes effective control challenging. To make matters worse, these nasty little bugs are not fussy about their food and will suck the life out of virtually any plant they land on, reproducing very quickly along the way. Perennial plants or evergreen trees are equally good targets for these insects. 

A Sure Sign 

While spotting the spider mites on trees is challenging, the damage they cause is fairly obvious, typically starting at the bottom and working their way up. Thanks to this feeding pattern, you’ll see damage to the tip of the leaf first. Watch out for the following signs: 

  • Yellow or white dots on the end of needles or leaves. 
  • Webs on the leaves or the stems. 
  • Yellowing or bronzing of large sections of the tree is a sure sign of a massive infestation. 

Would you like an easy test for spider mites? Take a clean sheet of white copy paper out under a branch and shake it gently. If the paper is full of colorful speckles afterward, you have an insect problem. 

How to Get Rid of Spider Mites

You must start treatment as soon as possible. What to do next depends on whether it is the growing or dormant season for the tree:

  • During the growing season, use the garden hose to rinse the tree and dislodge the mites. Be sure to concentrate on the underside of the leaves and drench the tree. 
  • During the dormant season, you can spray dormant oil on the underside of the leaves. Do not do this after bud break, however. 

A more environmentally-friendly solution is to introduce predators like lacewings and predator beetles. Alternatively, call our team for a quick resolution. 

Support Your Tree

As you learn more about spider mites, you’ll see that they thrive on dehydrated trees and plants. You can mitigate the damage to a large degree by supporting the healthy growth of your plant. Be sure to feed and water the tree regularly and mulch all the way to the outer edge of the drip line for the best possible results. 

While this will not prevent an attack, it primes your tree to better survive one. The healthier the tree, the faster it will overcome the damage. Naturally, however, it’s essential to get the issue under control as quickly as possible. 

Contact Us for Professional Advice Today!

Whether you need help dealing with spider mites on trees or caring for newly planted trees, the Professional Tree Service team is here to assist. Contact us today by calling (228) 669-9388.

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