A Guide To Dormant Oil

One of the bigger threats to your trees and shrubs this winter are unwanted pests attempting to make your landscape, their home. You have invested your hard earned time and money into your trees and shrubs this year, so protecting them from these pests this winter is important.

One of the best ways to keep these pests off your trees and shrubs is by utilizing dormant or horticultural oil. These oils are extremely effective when it comes to keeping pests off of your trees and shrubs, protecting your landscape, and guaranteeing long-term results. Here is a guide with all you need to know about dormant oil!

What Is Dormant Oil?

First and foremost, dormant oil gets its name from the fact that it is applied to the trees and shrubs when they are dormant. It is a mix of petroleum oil and water, designed to protect trees and shrubs from winter insect infestations, without damaging the plant itself.

The Benefits

  • Kills and prevents a wide range of pests – Dormant oils kill unwanted pests by either covering their breathing tubes (suffocation) or by destroying their internal cells. They are also effective at killing overwintering eggs. However, the oil may not get to all eggs (especially if they are stacked on top of one another) so it is important to do check again after the initial application.
  • Safe to humans and non-harmful pests – Because these oils are not poisonous, they are much safer for humans and certain other pests who are not planning on sticking around your trees and shrubs for the winter season.
  • Minimal smell – The smell of dormant oil is very light and better than the smell of pesticides.

The Drawbacks

  • The possibility of plant damage – If you do not apply dormant oils properly, or if you apply them at the wrong time, you are at risk of damaging the plant. You also need to make sure you are mixing the oil at the right dilution rate, or you may cause unnecessary stress on your trees or shrubs.
  • Only effective to pests present – Because these oils have no residual effects, the pest you are trying to kill and prevent has to be present when the oil is sprayed.
  • Some plants are more sensitive than others – Make sure you do your research before applying dormant oil. Certain plants react differently than others!

At Ashton Walden, we provide yearlong tree and shrub treatment for long-term results. This includes dormant/horticultural oil applications! Our experts know which treatment will be most effective for your trees and shrubs. Give us a call at (806) 632-3571 to hear more about how we can help you!

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