Spider Mites in Arborvitae

Spider Mites in Arborvitae

My current arborvitae problem is another example of how neglect and lack of knowledge and experience can come back to haunt you.   Two years ago I lost the first arborvitae to the left of the current one.  Then this second one became ill and it yellowed in less than two weeks!  After searching the internet for information, I am almost 100% convinced that I’ve got spider mites.  It’s possible that it could be something else, like bagworm, but I couldn’t find anything that looked like bagworms.  I didn’t even have to use a piece of white paper.  I shook some branches over my hand and there were the tiniest little microscopic black specs, crawling across my palm!  Without treatment, they will continue to eat away at my 15 – 20 foot hedge of arborvitae chewing their way along the fence line.  If I lost them and had no more privacy from my neighbors, I would be very unhappy to say the least.

In my desperation I called Glass Tree Care and they came out to give my arborvitae a good drenching with a dormant oil mix with a little kelp, fish and rosemary added.   If it is spider mites then that should smother the hatching eggs for now. They have assured me that I will not lose anymore arborvitae if I keep up a spray regimen of three sprayings over the next 6 months.   I also need to take better care of them.  Considering how dry it was last summer, and how dry it’s been this winter, it doesn’t surprise me that it has created fertile conditions for a spider mites infestation.

Here are a few links to a couple websites I found that explain what spider mites and bagworms are:



It’s hard to believe I’ve been living here for 15 years and only lost a few things from disease, lack of care or freezing temperatures considering how little I knew when I first started.  I’ve learned so much about gardening since those first few years, yet the more I learn, the more I realize I have to learn.  It is a never-ending growth experience and accumulation of knowledge, and I have to admit that I probably learn more when I make mistakes and experience garden disasters than I do at any other time.   If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s how important it is to read about everything that exists in your garden when you move in and find out how to care for what you have, and how to avoid diseases.   Never plant a tree or shrub or anything without learning about it first.  How to plant it, where to plant it, the type of soil conditions it needs, how to care for it, and what kind of diseases it can get.  If you don’t you will most assuredly lose some precious plants.

One thing about being a gardener, it teaches patience.  It can take years for a tree or shrub to grow into a splendid member of your garden family, and if it’s a fruit tree or berry bush or something of ornamental value you want to be able to enjoy it for years.  So when a disease, or freeze, or something kills this member of your little community, it really is depressing, at least when you have the kind of relationship with your garden that I do.

So be diligent, educate yourself, take precautions, fertilize & spray (organic of course), water and tend to your garden to your fullest ability, and you will hopefully avoid something completely preventable like spider mites!



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