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Dormant Oils: Control Pests Without Harsh Chemicals

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Dormant Oil treatments are a very effective way of controlling ornamental pest populations without the use of harsh insecticidal chemicals. Horticultural oils are light mineral oils similar to the ones found in many cosmetics and baby oils. They are nontoxic to humans and pets. Dormant oils get the name from the time of season they are applied. 

Dormant oils are sprayed on ornamental plants in the late fall, winter, and early spring to control overwintering eggs of different pest species. Dormant oils prepare trees and plants for the blossoming season to come. As the tree lays dormant and eggs of pests are layed this is the exact time to apply a dormant oil. Certified Arborist, Rick Pearce who is Carolina Tree Care's Greensboro and Raleigh arborist states, "these oils work by covering the plants and the insect eggs in a thin film of oil. This film clogs up the pores of the eggs and suffocates the embryo before it can hatch." Several Insects controlled by this treatment include soft bodied scales, mites, aphids, lace bugs, whiteflies, adelgids, and some caterpillars. 

Healthy plants are more able to defend themselves from pests. Reducing pest populations before they become a problem reduces stress on the plants they feed on. These two factors combined help us reduce the use of insecticides that can be harmful to pollinators and other beneficial insects. An added benefit to the oils is they can help the plants retain moisture during dry spells during the winter. Retaining moisture is an important factor in overall tree health.

Are you interested in learning more about treatments that can take place during a trees dormant season? Our certified arborist are here to discuss all your tree care needs. Don't miss out on scheduling your arborist consultation and dormant oil treatment today.