Much of the country has seen a wet spring but we are still experiencing drought conditions this summer. Watering restrictions have been in place for months in several regions. Meanwhile, the spider mite party never ends.
Thriving in the hot, dry dregs of summer, a spider mite infestation may not be apparent on your plants until it’s too late, since the little beasts generally live on the underside of leaves. If your plant’s leaves turn yellow, then crumple and fall off, you could have a mite problem. Look for tiny red dots on the leaves’ undersides. Spider mites also weave telltale webs at the stem crotches of plants.
The best way to check for these beasties is to take a clean piece of white paper and shake or vigorously tap the suspect plant over the top of the paper. Simply slide a finger over the top of the paper. If you see streaks, you most likely have mites.
An easy way to spot these webs is by spraying your plants with water in the early morning. The muted sunlight helps to highlight the webs. If you spot webs, turn the nozzle of your sprayer on jet if you’ve got such a setting and give your affected plants a good hard blast. The mites’ party will be all wet.
To keep spider mites at bay, make sure your plants are getting all they need, as mites tend to attack plants in stress. In the heat of summer, make sure you are watering infrequently but deeply, mulching bare soil and not over-fertilizing.
A good miticide, like Green Light Spinosad, will also send the spider mite party packing.