Dormant Oil

Spring has sprung in Alberta and our landscapes go from snow covered to brown to green in a hurry!

With temperatures warming up above freezing and melting is well on its way, you may be wondering what you can do for your shrubs.

Well the forecast is looking great to do a little preventative maintenance in the form of spraying shrubs and hedges with dormant oil. As mentioned in a previous blog, I promised to explain what it is and why we might need to use it.

Dormant oil, simply put is an oil based product with a surfactant mix in it (to enable it to be mixed with water) that is sprayed on trees and shrubs while they are dormant to kill overwintering insects and eggs. Dormant oil is best for controlling scale and mites and some other overwintering insects.

How it works: Once dormant oil is sprayed on all branches of the tree/shrub, it penetrates into the surface of the insect’s hard outer shell, and suffocates it. (Insects breathe through their shells)

Dormant oil is typically sprayed in Spring and Fall. Two main reasons for this are: Certain insects are active at these times breeding and laying eggs, and there are no leaves present for the oil to make contact with.

Choose a day with no rain or high winds. Temperature should be at least 4 degrees Celcius and will not fall below that for 24 hours. Just barely above freezing.

Spray early enough so that the buds have not begun to swell or open to prevent damaging or smothering the shrub.

Always read your labels and fully understand how to apply, and you can give your shrubs a head start this year!

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