Spider Mites

The Issue

The spider mite is a common pest of landscape conifers in Massachusetts. This tiny eight-legged insect prefers the spring and fall weather with severe infestations causing discolored foliage, unthrifty looking plants and premature leaf drop. Unfortunately, while feeding in spring and fall, damage is not apparent until summer.

Signs of Spider Mites

Scouting for spider mite eggs is typically done in summer and early spring (60-70 degree temperatures induce feeding activity). A lens with 10x power magnification is required to see the eggs. Adult mite activity can be discovered by holding a white piece of paper under a branch and gently shaking the branch several times to dislodge the mites. They will appear as gray-green spots (or maybe black) moving slowly on the paper.

The Solution

Most spider mites can be managed by the use of horticultural oils and soaps. Both of these products will remove the blue/gray/silver color from the needles of Picea pungens var. glauca and its many cultivars.

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