Spider mites are classified as arachnids, due to having eight legs and no wings or antennas. They pose a common problem to gardeners, because of their ability to multiply rapidly and feed on a vast array of plants. Sulfur spray serves as a safe, organic, and effective method for eliminating spider mites and restoring the health of your plants.
The Benefits of Sulfur Spray
Sulfur spray is a very common method of pest and fungus control because it can kill mites, while being safe for humans and animals. Also, while being toxic to many arachnids, it is often safe for other insects. Thus, it is an effective miticide, as it can eliminate mite problems while inflicting minimal harm on beneficial insects in the garden. Furthermore, sulfur is nontoxic to mammals, so you needn’t worry about consuming the plants that sulfur has been applied to. Given that sulfur is a naturally occurring, mineral-based substance, it can be utilized by organic gardeners as well.
Potential Disadvantages and Cautions
Sulfur is highly acidic and can have adverse effects on certain plants. Vulnerable plants, such as plants in the Cucurbitaceae family, can be easily burned by sulfur sprays. Sulfur is not compatible with pesticides and can create adverse effects when used together. Sulfur is also incompatible with oils. It should never be used within 30 days of oil sprays, or phytotoxicity will occur. Additionally, applying sulfur in temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit will increase the risk of damage to plants. Thus, prior to applying a sulfur spray to your plants, you will first need to consider the type of plants that are affected as well as the climate in which you live.
Proper Application of Sulfur Spray
The sulfur spray should be combined at a ratio of approximately one teaspoon per liter of water. It can be applied as a foliar spray, directly to both the upper and lower sides of the leaves. Thoroughly coat all affected areas with the spray. If applied thoroughly, only one treatment is needed to kill the mites. However, if mites persist, apply again as needed until the mites have been eliminated. Keep in mind that sulfur, while nontoxic, can be a minor irritant. Be sure to wear all necessary safety gear, including long sleeves, gloves, goggles, and a dust mask, to limit the quantity of sulfur you are exposed to.
Alternatives to Sulfur Sprays
Proper watering is an important factor in keeping mite problems under control, as drought-stressed plants are more susceptible to pest damage. Introducing predatory insects to your garden, particularly predatory mites, is a natural method of pest control. The carnivorous insects will feast on the detrimental pests in your garden, while posing no threat to your plants. Insecticidal soaps are effective in combatting mite problems as well. There are a variety of insecticidal soaps available, all containing the same active ingredient; potassium salt of fatty acids. The insecticidal soap should be diluted with water to a concentration of 2%. Apply it as a foliar spray, thoroughly drenching the tops and bottoms of all leaves. Continue to apply as needed until the mite problem goes away.