Learn how to apply dormant oils your trees so that you can better prevent overwintering pests from harming your trees come spring and summer.
Pests can hibernate within trees through the winter season, and emerge as larvae once spring arrives. This means you cannot assume that your tree pest problems are cleared just because summer is over. It is important to remain active against tree disease and pest infestation all year long. Fortunately, using dormant oils, also known as horticulture oils, is an excellent method for this type of preventative maintenance. Continue reading to learn more about the use of dormant oils for tree protection, and how to maximize their effectiveness.
How Do Horticulture Oils Work?
Horticulture oils are widely available and inexpensive. You can find them at any local gardening or landscaping store, as well as, many home improvement stores, tractor supply stores, nurseries, and online retailers. The oil works because it coats the spiracles of insects, which basically smothers future larvae. And since these oils are organic, they are non-toxic to the tree and other wildlife, such as birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and more. They are also not harmful to beneficial insects, like lady bugs and butterflies. You can even apply dormant oils to your shrubs. All you need is a cloth or large paint brush. Simply dip and apply a generous coat to your tree’s bark. You can even mix some oil with water in a plastic bottle and spray the solution onto the leaves for added protection.
Here are some tips that will help get the most from their use:
Get Your Timing Right. Timing is important when it comes to using horticulture oils. They should only be applied when a tree has fully entered dormancy, hence the name, “dormant” oils, and before it has begun to sprout new growth. That is why early winter and late spring are the best times to apply dormant oils. Ideal temperatures should be between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine Treatments Strategically. If you have other pesticide and insecticide treatment plans in place, be sure you organize your application agendas accordingly. It is important to space out your applications of these treatments from your oil applications because combining the two could create an adverse reaction for the tree. Thirty days is a good time frame to be safe.
Read the Label. There are several types of dormant oils to choose from, and they are not all the same, so it is important to pay attention to the labels before making any purchases. Look for a low-viscosity oil. These will be easier to work with and spread onto the bark. Also be sure that the oil you buy is blatantly marked as dormant oil. Furthermore, be sure the dormant oil is the right type for the species of tree you intend to use it on. Some oils are not formulated for certain tree species.
Follow Instructions. While you are reading your labels, be sure to concentrate on the instructions. Read the instructions thoroughly before making any applications to your trees. Not only will this make the process easier for you, it will make it safer and more effective too.