What is Dormant Spray?
New horticultural oils (a type of mineral oil) are used as a dormant application. This is applied early in the spring before most of the deciduous trees have leafed out.
A large variety of insect pests are controlled by being smothered or suffocated under the oil film. This includes overwintering insects and eggs that hide in the bark of trees & shrubs. By applying the oil, your trees and shrubs can start the year off without any pests. (This doesn't mean that they won't fly in later from your neighbours, but it goes a long way toward reducing the insect populations.) Pests that are controlled include scale, whiteflies, aphids, fruit moths, many mites and the eggs of caterpillars that overwinter on trees.
The added benefit of the dormant spray application is that oil breaks down very quickly and is less toxic to the beneficial insects. Oil applications are very safe to use not only for the applicator but also for homeowners, pets and children.
Dormant Oil is especially important to control scale insects as there are relatively few opportunities to control these pests. Dormant Oil is also recommended for fruit trees, roses and silver maples. It can be applied to almost all trees and shrubs. A few varieties may be susceptible to damage from the oil.
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