Though they may look healthy and insect-free, your trees and shrubs could be providing a home for some of their worst enemies at this very moment. Even if you can’t see any damage taking place, it’s possible that insect eggs and/or pupating larvae are posing a very real threat to the health of your landscape plants.
After overwintering in your trees and shrubs, insects such as scales, aphids, spider mites and thrips can “come to life” in late winter and early spring to start feeding on your plants. If you don’t prevent them from doing so they may cause serious damage to their hosts (your trees and shrubs!!!) Dormant oil treatments can provide protection to your valuable plants.
So what exactly is “Dormant Oil”? Can I use E.V.O.O. (extra virgin olive oil)??? Dormant Oil is a highly refined, combination of light oils that are blended with emulsifiers which allow them to be mixed with water and spread evenly over plant surfaces. Once dormant oil is applied to your trees and shrubs, the oil/water mixture coats the soft bodies and/or eggs of insect pests. So what does all this mean? Since most insects use their entire body to breathe, the oil/water coating basically seals off their pores and suffocates them.
Dormant oils are an effective and environmentally friendly method of controlling insect pests, but to work properly they must be applied when temperatures are above freezing and plants are still dormant. Early spring is the perfect time! And please….leave the dormant oil in the garage….don’t put it on your pasta!