Posted: December 26, 2015

It's tough to imagine a positive scenario that includes the words spider mite. “Congratulations! You just won a year's supply of spider mites!” wouldn’t inspire much enthusiasm in the average person. True to their name, spruce spider mites are deceptively destructive and troublesome for tree owners around Winona. They feed, creep and infest, and the tree care specialists at Maier Tree & Lawn will tell you that they're simply a pain. Dealing with spruce spider mites means watching for infestations and practicing a little preventative tree care on your own.

Like many types of pests, spruce spider mites thrive on conifers that have been planted too closely together. This allows the mites to transfer between food sources easily and quickly. Spider mites feed by puncturing the surface of the foliage and sucking nutrients. This contributes to dehydration, which in turn can lead to tree stress.

Short of tearing up your landscape and starting over, you should consider other preventative options.  Make sure that you're watering your trees adequately and with enough frequency, especially during dry periods. If you're not sure about the proper amount to water your trees, it may be wise to consult a professional arborist. Organic mulch also helps by moderating soil temperatures, conserving water, and providing nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Proper watering and mulching will raise your tree's defenses, which can make it less susceptible to mite infestations. It's a win-win!

Spruce spider mites are most active in the cooler months of spring and autumn, but they are dormant in the winter. If you've had mite problems before or have concern about the coming season, winter can be a great time to get prepared. Use their dormancy to brush up on your mite warning signs and make a game plan. Spider mite feeding causes small dots (called “stippling”) to appear all over the foliage, and mites make small webs in areas where they concentrate. As the weather warms in the spring you can detect an early infestation by tapping a branch over a sheet of white paper and looking for tiny mites. If you're noticing any of these warning signs, it might be time to call in a professional.

Since spruce spider mites spread quickly, proper tree care means reacting quickly as well. Hiring the tree care specialist from Maier Tree & Lawn to treat your trees safely during active mite season can save your spruces – and other conifers -- from some serious damage. The spruce spider mite prefers spruce trees, but it will infest other conifers as well including arborvitae and pine. In areas like Winona where conifers have been planted, these mites can become more than just a minor annoyance. Discuss your concerns with the knowledgeable professionals at Maier Tree & Lawn through their website or via phone at 507.454.7000 to keep your landscape spider mite free.

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