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What Are Spider Mites Doing on My Cedar Trees?!

Dead cedars suffering from cedar mites

Tiny Cedar Mites Can Cause Big Problems

Though not actually spiders, spider mites on cedar trees can cause damage on your cedar, juniper and cypress plants.

If you’re a gardener, you may already be familiar with garden mites that damage plants like tomatoes. Unfortunately, cedar mites and other tree mites can be harmful to your trees as well.

Oligonychus ununguis, or spruce mites, are found on spruces, pines, and other conifers.

Birch mites, Eotetranychus uncatus, affect birch species.

Spider mites can cause damage to cedar, juniper and cypress plants. Mites suck chlorophyll from the leaves, leaving the plant discoloured and branches to die off.

What Do Spider Mites Look Like?

Unfortunately for you, mites are so small they’re difficult for most people to see. A small number of mites won’t cause visible damage to your plant, but if the infestation spreads, you’ll start to notice issues with your cedars or other tree. They may look like dust if there are many mites on your plant.

You can check for mites by holding a piece of paper under a damaged branch and shaking it. If specks fall onto the paper, wait a few minutes. If those specks begin moving, you probably have a cedar mite infestation.

Mites can’t fly, but wind can carry them onto nearby plants and trees. This also means they easily fall off of plants from rain. But in hot, dry summer weather, their numbers can quickly expand.

Spruce mites, however, reproduce faster in cool weather, so can be found more in spring and fall.

How Do Cedar Mites Attack Trees?

Spider mites poke tiny holes in stems or leaves to suck out sap, or chlorophyll. Eventually, you’ll begin to notice yellow spots on the leaves, or further discolouration, curling branches, or branches turning bronze.

In widespread infestations, webs will be visible on branches, which will start to die and fall off. Spider mites can be fatal in especially bad infestations.

If your trees were infected last year with mites, the mites will wait until warm weather arrives to hatch. That’s why it’s necessary to treat cedar mite infestations to keep them from recurring the next season.

Cedar Mite Treatment

Since water can remove cedar mites so easily, just spraying your plant with a hose can help remove mites. Don’t overdo it, though — excessively wet conditions may make your plant more susceptible. It may be helpful to prune off damaged stems and branches.

We can treat cedar mite infestations and spruce mite infestations with insecticidal soap. Using dormant oil on plants in the springtime can help prevent infestations over the summer, or spraying in the fall to keep mites from nesting over the winter.

We can treat mites with natural insecticidal treatments and ensure your soil is properly balanced to prevent reinfection.

We can also use natural predators of mites, including ladybugs, lacewings, and predatory mites, for effective biological control of spider mites.

Our arborists are experts in plant healthcare. We can recommend effective treatment based on the scale of infection in your trees and ensure appropriate products are used. If you’re ready to say goodbye to cedar mites on your trees, give Vista Tree a call today!

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