SpiderMites are destorying my garden

texantuffJuly 2, 2010

Im in Houston Tx so I cant use neem oil or any oil based killers ive tryed anti-soap an washing EveryDay for 2 weeks ive tryed seven dust ive even went an used Malathion spectracide that last one burnt most my plant an yet the mite is still in controll of my gargen here are some pictues of the leaves this is my third garden an last two years I had the same problem ive used a lot more then what I just mentioned. Im about to just pull up all my black eye peas an the will thin down one of my gardens to just 2 eggplants a black prince tomato an 2 burssel sprout plants figure that will give a lot less place for mites to hide an on 2nd garden im considering pulling out all my tomato plants an replanting for fall but that brings up the question how do i prevent the new plants from having the same problems :(help this hurts lol hum im having trouble putting more then 1 pic so this picture the under side of a black eye peA the red on is is pure spider mites

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torquill(z9/sunset15 CA)

Ouch. As someone who has battled Pacific mite for years, I know exactly what you're going through. There are so few viable solutions, unfortunately...

There are a few things you can try to keep the mite populations down: they really like hot, dry, dusty conditions and stressed plants, so the more you avoid those conditions the better.

- If you have a lot of dust around, consider wetting things down periodically in the late morning or early afternoon to keep it from flying around and coating the leaves. That will also help to increase the humidity and cool down the leaves.

- Mulch well to help retain moisture, which will reduce plant stress; it will also eliminate dust.

- Keep the plants well-fed, well-watered, and vigorous. I've found that mites are much less of a problem when the plants are growing well with lots of new foliage. Lots of water and food is probably my primary defense against mites now.

- My second line of defense is picking the right varieties. Certain plants tend to attract mites like magnets (marigolds come to mind). Certain varieties of tomato are more susceptible than others as well; I've given up on growing anything with wispy foliage because those get totally hammered as soon as the hot weather comes in. I miss out on some good pastes and hearts, but there it is. Potato leaf and rugose varieties have almost no trouble with mites unless the plants are really struggling.

- Predatory mites are sold for greenhouses; with that sort of pest population, you might benefit from them even out in the open. Check some organic supply catalogs.

- Be vigilant. All it takes is one plant getting overwhelmed by mites, then they have a foothold to take over the rest from. Yanking or severely pruning one plant is better than losing all of them, if you notice that one is faring badly. If there's a variety or species that seems to do much worse, look for a different one for next year. The mites are tough to kill, so we have to adapt and learn.

I wish you the best of luck.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 8:02PM
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thanks alison looks like ive been following that list there pretty closely. one thing i notice each year its seems as if the plant food attracts these buggers but that might be my mind playing tricks on me. IÂve pulled out all my tomatoes plants minus 1 grape tomato. Also ive removed my black eye pea plants .The black eye pea plant seemed to be the worst infestation. for the minute I thing ive won this battle also weÂve had tons of rain an that also appears to be helping I think tomorrow Ill stat replanting for fall an Suggestions what tomatoes will do good in Houston an Mite resistant Thanks Again

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 2:41PM
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torquill(z9/sunset15 CA)

I can't help you on good varieties for Houston; you might try asking on the regular Growing Tomatoes forum. As for mite resistance -- as I said, I find that foliage type makes a difference: best to worst is potato leaf or rugose > regular leaf > wispy or thin leaf. I usually do an internet search on various varieties to see what leaf type they are before I try growing them. Also look for vigorous plants and thick foliage, if anyone makes a comment to that effect.

Best of luck for your second round.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 10:02PM
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I had that problem last year on my tomatoes. A local gardener suggested dusting the plants with Sulfer plant fungicide. It did work. The plants recovered. Good luck, they only infested my tomatoes.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 1:42PM
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