The Q&A Archives: Dwarf Alberta Spruce Spider Mites

Question: How can you tell if a plant has spider mites? If a dwarf alberta spruce is infected with spider mites, what is the best treatment or spray to use?

Answer: One easy way to check your spruce for spider mites is to hold a piece of white paper beneath a branch and tap the branch sharply. If there are spider mites on the branch, some will fall onto the paper. They will look like tiny pieces of pepper, except that if you look closely, you'll see them moving. Spider mites are easier to discourage than they are to control. These pests like dry, dusty conditions so simply hosing your plants off twice a week should keep them at bay. They can spread to other nearby plants so hose those off periodically as well. The simplest approach to control is spray the foliage thoroughly with a garden hose or spray bottle. Dusting sulfur can be applied when the temperature does not go over 90 F (hose the sulfur off after a day or so). Special sprays (miticides) can also be purchased, but hose washing or sulfuring the foliage is simpler and quite effective.

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