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How to Fix a Spider Mite Infection for Outdoor Plants


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Ask any gardener, and you'll hear horror stories about a plant infection gone wrong. This year, as I grew cucumbers in containers on my porch, I noticed singular webs across the stakes of my trellis structure. Thinking nothing of it, I swiped the webs down and went about my business. Unfortunately, that was a huge sign of spider mite infestation, and I missed it. My cucumber plant, which was healthy and sprawling, ended up producing just one cucumber for the season, as the mites destroyed the rest of the plant.

To save yourself trouble, check for these signs of spider mites:

  • Webbing between stakes or other plants - this is how the mites travel and how they got their name
  • Small bugs on the underside of leaves - that's their feeding ground
  • A mass of small bugs at the top of a plant stake - a sure sign you have a population problem
  • Leaves that are slowly losing color and firmness - spider mites eat chlorophyll, so as the infection continues leaves will become brown and lifeless

If you see these signs, it is not too late! Here are some things you can do:

  • Make sure your plants are well watered -  spider mites thrive in hot and dry conditions. Be especially careful if your area is going through a heat wave.
  • Get a natural pesticide spray - these usually contain neem oil and other ingredients that are non-toxic to humans and pets. 
  • Remove webbing, clean the underside of plants leaves, and cut away affected areas. Once a leaf is infected to the point of being brown and droopy, it's far too late - be proactive in cutting diseased parts. 
  • Get beneficial mites. Also found on Amazon, there are predator mites you can release in the garden to eat spider mites. They are harmless to the plants and will not cause further problems. Ladybugs can be used for this purpose as well. 
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