Friday, January 22, 2016

Scare Off Spider Mites

Lemon tree. Problem: spider mites. 
Solution: cool water mist every day!
The list of plants attractive to the destructive spidermite is long. Ivy does not fare well. Impatiens and mint brought in to overwinter often succumb to these tiny destroyers. Vietnamese coriander is vulnerable and so are indoor lemon and lime trees.

Spider mites take down a few of my indoor plants every winter, and linger around, ready to attack seedlings in spring.

A local greenhouse expert on indoor citrus trees offered  a solution to keep spider mites at bay. Spray vulnerable plants with cool water every day. Spidermites do not like cool, damp conditions. They will depart when confronted with a cool, moist habitat. 

I recently noticed fine webs on the tops of two indoor citrus trees.  A magnifying glass revealed the tiny spider mites in action.

I sprayed the plants with water. At first I didn't spray enough, and the spray was not fine enough to provide excellent coverage.  I used a finer spray and misted the plants, over and under the leaves, on the stems and on the soil.  I turned the plants around and sprayed from different directions, from the top, from the bottom and all around. I kept the plants free from dead leaves. Each day I misted with cool water, and at first I sprayed twice each day. I watched for more mites, magnifying glass in hand, and if I spotted a mite I tried to pluck it from the plant. Be gone!

Chase away spider mites with water.


A week or so later, the spider mites were gone! 

Keep Spider Mites at Bay

I continue to mist thoroughly all plants susceptible to spider mites.  I also mist the basil and tomato seedlings. 

I do believe I will have to keep spraying every day, but as the winters in Edmonton are dry, the continuous misting adds welcome moisture to the air. 

Keep a close eye on your plants for  spider mites. The sooner you start spraying, the more likely you are to keep these destructive critters under control.

I also water from below whenever possible. Put the plant in a bowl of water and let the water soak up from the bottom. Give the plant a thorough soaking once a week or so, depending on the water needs of the plant. I think this keeps the indoor plants healthier and less vulnerable to attack from pests.  

Spider mites have left the lime and lemon trees.


Link to Salisbury Greenhouse about lemon trees.

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