The Q&A Archives: Spidermites On Plum Tree

Question: I have an young outdoor plum tree that I love very much. It was doing extremely well, growing rapidly with lots of new leaves popping up. It's watered and misted regulary.

Unfortunately, it now shows all the signs of a severe spider mite infestation. About 2/3 of the leaves have shriveled up and a spider-web like substance is visible around the shriveled leaves.

At the border between the damaged leaves and the intact leaves on a few of the branches, I see several soldier beetles. I'm thinking that they're congregating where the mite activity is highest. (Three cheers for the good guys!)

I'm going to try surrounding it with some mosquito netting for a few days and releasing a thousand ladybugs.

Any other suggestions?

Answer: First of all, congratulations on the appearance of beneficial insects in your garden! Usually when populations of bothersome insects soar, beneficial insects come to the rescue. I suspect that the soldier beetles are doing their share to help control the mites. If you want to release other beneficials, try lacewings. These guys will attack almost anything that moves! Or, you can treat the tree with insecticidal soap or a neem-based insecticide to control the mites. Routine misting with water also helps raise the humidity and control mites.

Hope you're successful in ridding your tree of mites!

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