Use Dormant Oil

for Early Pests Control

After experiencing significant rainfall in January, I am looking forward to drier and warmer temperatures! While walking through my garden recently, I noticed Florida Wax scales on my Anthony Waterer Spirea. It's time to pull out the dormant oil! Using dormant oil applications can be useful when dealing with insect pest populations in your landscape during the growing season. In my opinion, dormant oil has been underutilized in the landscape.

Dormant oils are applied in the winter months to control scales and mite pests that have overwintered as eggs or mature females. Dormant oil applications can help to reduce the need for pesticides later in the season.

Dormant oil sprays are derived from highly refined petroleum products that are mixed with water (according to label directions) and applied to shrubs and trees to control pests like scales and spider mites. Dormant oil eradicates pests on contact by suffocating them. When dormant oil is applied on pests, the thin layer of oil plugs the spiracles or pores through which the insect pest breathe. It can also penetrate and disrupt cell membranes.

Timing is important when using dormant oil. Applications of dormant oil should take place in mid-winter to early spring before the plants show signs of breaking dormancy. Dormant oil has a minimal residual effectiveness so thorough coverage of the entire plant is important. Using dormant oils in the winter months also minimizes any negative impact to beneficial insects. Always read the label directions carefully before mixing and applying this product.

I am a big advocate of using dormant oil. Preventive dormant oil applications are highly effective and reduce the need for pesticides, saving time and money when dealing with garden insects.

Lucky for me, I still have a container of dormant oil in my garage. I have some work to do! Until next time, stay warm!

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