Schedule Your Spring Horticultural Oil Treatment to Keep Overwintering Bugs at Bay

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As you’re getting your spring cleaning list together this year, don’t forget to include your landscape. It may seem dead out there in early spring, but pests have found themselves a nice little home in your tree’s cracks and crevices to survive through the winter. These overwintering (as pupae or adults) or newly emerging (from eggs) insects pose a serious threat to our trees and shrubs.

The overwintering tree and landscape pests we commonly see in Northeast Ohio include:

  • aphids,
  • leafhoppers,
  • mites,
  • scale and
  • tent caterpillars.

Use Horticultural Oil to Control Overwintering Insect Pests

Fortunately, one of the easiest and most effective ways of protecting your landscape from insect damage is with a light application of dormant or horticultural oil.

What is Dormant or Horticultural Oil?

Dormant oil is a non-toxic, refined form of mineral oil. A spray application coats pests with a thin layer of oil which suffocates the pests and prevents egg sacks from hatching.

If you have not considered using horticulture oil as the first line of defense against insects in your landscape, here are a few facts to consider:

  • Horticultural oils are safe and organic. Horticulture oils are refined to remove any of the impurities that would be damaging to plants. The oil is then combined with emulsifiers so you can mix the product with water and spray it on plants.
  • Horticultural oils are safe to use during the growing season. Early spring is a great time of year for horticultural oil applications, as they are safe and light enough to apply to plants that already have foliage. We don’t recommend applying horticultural oil later in the season, when plants are fully leafed out and temperatures reach into the 80’s and above.
  • Horticultural oils are effective in controlling pests. These oils will kill pests including mites, aphids, white flies, scale and other soft bodied insects on your trees and shrubs.

When Should Dormant Oil Be Applied?

It is important to apply dormant oil at the right time; it should be sprayed before an infestation occurs. Dormant oil is best applied when temperatures are still cool, when the insects are active but before “bud break,” to avoid damage to actively growing foliage.

In Northeast Ohio, that time can be as unpredictable as our weather, but is generally between mid-March to mid-April.

Control Saves You Time & Money

Control is key when it comes to tree and landscape pests, and dormant oil applications can save you time and money from having to use stronger pesticides to control an infestation.

Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” –Benjamin Franklin.

What Should You Do?

In early February, we begin scheduling appointments for horticultural oil treatments across our service areas in Northeast Ohio.

Our schedule for spring services can fill up fast, so give us a call at 440-564-1374 or request your service online to reserve your spot on our schedule and protect your trees and shrubs against the damage of insects this spring.

Schedule Your Spring Treatments

Prevent issues this spring and summer by scheduling your spring horticultural oil or dormant oil treatments early! Contact Independent Tree for more information or to secure your spot on our schedule.

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About The Author

Alan Kraus owner of Independent Tree in Newbury, Ohio

Alan Kraus

Alan Kraus is the founder and owner of Independent Tree, a full-service tree care company in Northeastern Ohio serving Eastern Cuyahoga, Geauga, Portage & Lake Counties. Alan is a certified arborist with a lifelong love of trees and with roots in the community he serves.  More About Alan >


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