Go, Bug, Go: How to Apply Dormant Oils to Protect Trees From Parasitic Insects

Would you like beautiful trees all year round? Do you want to get rid of mites, scales and other insect pests? You can tell bugs to take a hike by using dormant oils, and protect those trees you love so dearly.

What Is Dormant Oil?

Dormant oil is usually fabricated from petroleum products although according to the University of Illinois Extension cottonseed oil is also sometimes used. The name comes from the fact that you are supposed to apply it while trees are dormant, though you should not confuse this with applying it in the depths of a cold snap as you must have temperatures above freezing for at least 24 hours to apply it. Otherwise, the oil can damage tree bark. Dormant oil is especially effective in orchards.

How Does It Control Insects?

Dormant oils typically kill pests by using oil to block the apertures through which they breathe, or by disrupting their metabolisms. It is especially effective during times when trees are dormant because insects are in egg or larval form and are particularly susceptible, though it is also effective against adult insects. Best of all, it doesn’t kill beneficial insects or harm birds, both of which can help contribute to natural pest control on your trees. Plus, the insect pests you’re targeting won’t build up a chemical resistance to these oils, so they’re considered very safe for continued use.

How Do You Apply It?

Typically, you apply dormant oil in the winter months (though you can use it at diluted rates in summer as well) from November through March. Use it after leaves have fallen and before trees leaf out again. Spray evenly on tree surfaces, ideally on a sunny, windless day when temperatures are expected to rise as the day goes on.

Need a little help? Premier Tree Solutions specializes in tree care in Atlanta, Georgia, and in the removal of dead, dying or infested tree limbs and specimens. We specialize in helping homeowners keep their trees and shrubs as healthy as they can possibly be. We also help with regular trimming and pruning, branch removal, storm cleanup, Bobcat work, stump grinding and debris removal. If you’d like help caring for your property, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 404-252-6448.

Tornado-Proof Your Treasured Trees

Whether you live in Tornado Alley or are just prone to some serious stormy weather come the spring and summer months, you don’t want Mother Nature wreaking havoc on the trees you value so much. Luckily you can avoid this fate by storm-proofing your trees and shrubs.

Plant Smart

There are several planting strategies you can use that will enable you to take the best possible care of your trees. These include planting trees young, planting them in clusters and removing stakes as soon as possible. However, beware planting so closely that each tree doesn’t have enough room to reach full root and canopy growth; check the tree’s full size before putting it in the ground.

Prune Smart

Helping the tree perfect its natural canopy will make it more resistant to damage from tornadoes and other storms. Follow the tree’s natural branching habit, remove limbs that grow at angles close to the trunk and encourage a strong branching structure. NEVER top trees, as this makes it more likely they will grow unstable, weakly attached limbs that may become dangerous projectiles when a storm hits.

Prep Smart

Even if you plant and prune intelligently, you may still miss some aspects of tree care that can help you save a tree in the case of a storm. One of the things you can do is to remove unstable limbs or branches that look dead or diseased, even if it isn’t the plant’s normal pruning time. These limbs are more likely to fall in high winds or bad weather, and can take other, healthy limbs with them. Be sure to use a disinfecting solution on all tools between cuts when pruning, otherwise you may make the tree even less healthy by spreading disease.

Call in the Experts

If you’re still not sure whether or not your trees will be safe from stormy weather, get help. Premier Tree Solutions is a quickly expanding tree-removal business based in Atlanta, Georgia, specializing in multiple areas of tree care.

These include tree removal and stump grinding, tree pruning and trimming, Bobcat work, branch clearing and debris removal. Don’t forget we also help clients with storm damage, so if you didn’t prep for storms until it was too late, you may still be able to save those trees. Just give us a call at 404-252-6448.