The Q&A Archives: What is dormant oil?

Question: You suggest using dormant oil as a bug deterrent on trees. What is it?

Thanks, Lois

Answer: Lois,

I apologize for this delayed reply to your gardening question and hope it is still helpful to you.

Dormant oil is a product applied to plants at the end of winter before new growth appears to control scale insects, mite eggs and certain other pests. It is not a deterrent of insects and any pests that appear after the oil application will not be affected because it is not a poison but rather kills by smothering the breathing openings of the insects that are covered with the spray. I suggest at this point waiting to see if and when any insect problems show up and then we can help determine if any controls are needed and if so which options are safest and most effective.

Thanks for the question. Best wishes for a wonderful gardening year in 2007. Please stop in again soon!

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