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 Post subject: Best way to combat spider mites on rosemary?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:55 pm 
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Location: Portland, OR
All of my rosemary plants are infected with rosemary mites, which are some kind of variety of spider mite. These invisibly tiny insects cause unsightly yellow mottling on the leaves of the rosemary, and (more importantly to me) are detrimental to the flavor of the rosemary. Oddly, though, they don't prevent the rosemary from continuing to grow.

Since I use this rosemary for culinary purposes, I do not want to use any toxic pesticides, or anything which is hard to wash off (like pepper wax or cinnamon oil). There are three solutions I've seen recommended for this and I wanted to ask if anyone had tried them and what your results were:

  • Neem Oil
  • Rosemary Oil
  • Ladybugs

The second solution seems ideal. However, I've had trouble locating rosemary oil in pesticide quantities; everywhere I've seen it has been in the neighborhood of 4oz for $14, which won't work for the applications I need to do. My second issue with applying oils is that it's hard for me to get good coverage on a 4' tall, 4' diameter rosemary bush.

Ideas?

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 Post subject: Re: Best way to combat spider mites on rosemary?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:20 pm 
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Something I have found to be useful in combating indoor pests is orange oil. In fact, every season I trim down and bring in my kafir limes and curry leaf plants I give them and the soil a total soaking in this, and let it dry, before bringing them in. Though it is potent smelling at first, it is gone in a couple of days, and there is not any taste of it left over. I have mixed it with neem oil, since the neem oil supposedly hangs on longer, though I don't know this for sure. It has worked with spider mites, aphids, and scale. Every two months or so, I take them out on a mild day and spray them down again, as a prophylactic.

It's been many years since I grew rosemary indoors, so I don't recall spider mites, but I remember some plants that I simply could not keep them off of, no matter what I did. They would get on the other plants, as well, but as soon as I had the bad plants out, they would disappear. Rao ram was one plant like this. Yet it never got spider mites outside!

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 Post subject: Re: Best way to combat spider mites on rosemary?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:01 pm 
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Location: Portland, OR
Dave,

These are outdoor plants.

Orange oil doesn't burn the plants?

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 Post subject: Re: Best way to combat spider mites on rosemary?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:58 pm 
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Sorry - my mistake, due to the fact that so many people are bringing their rosemary indoors fairly soon.

I have never had a problem with orange oil burning any of the plants. I use that Medina brand, but there are several others I have seen, so it is a common plant spray. It's obviously not PURE orange oil, but it does better than just plain oil sprays or soap sprays. It takes about 1/4 c/gallon of spray, and I have also sprayed it on my outside rosemary to combat a whitefly infestation I had this last spring, and it worked great.

Strangely enough, spider mites seem to prefer hot, dry conditions, which is not what your plants are in! Some people say they get rid of them simply by hosing off the plants with a sharp stream of water, and repeat this every couple of days, until they are gone.

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 Post subject: Re: Best way to combat spider mites on rosemary?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:39 am 
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Location: Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4 foot rosemary made me weep. I am lucky to get mine to 1 foot, although I have to start every year from a small plant.


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 Post subject: Re: Best way to combat spider mites on rosemary?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:45 am 
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Dave, Jean:

It doesn't freeze here. Our main problem with rosemary is trimming it back, and preventing root rot.

Heck, I didn't even plant one of these rosemary bushes. It just grew.

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 Post subject: Re: Best way to combat spider mites on rosemary?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:18 am 
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Another reason to live in a better climate! I buy mine pre-grown from the greenhouses as a small bush every year, and I'm fighting frost by September. Sadly mine don't seem to do well with pulling them in for the winter so I start fresh every year.

Never had mites though. Guess they don't like the climate either! I'd be tempted to start by blasting them with high pressure water before moving on to other things. My mother swears by dish soap for spider mites on her house plants.

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 Post subject: Re: Best way to combat spider mites on rosemary?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:00 am 
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Every few years I trim back my rosemary with a hedge trimmer and wish I had a wood chipper to make the best smelling mulch ever!

Sadly, everything else dies by May from the heat.

--Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: Best way to combat spider mites on rosemary?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:22 am 
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Location: Northeast Louisiana
We have no rosemary problems. It grows like a weed. The chickens kept tearing mine up, so we transplanted it for the 3rd time. It's bigger and better.

(Hey Dave? What do you know about ponderosa lemons? I was surprised at how much they taste like true lemons. They take forever to grow! I finally have 4-5 fruits.)

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 Post subject: Re: Best way to combat spider mites on rosemary?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:37 pm 
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beccaporter wrote:
We have no rosemary problems. It grows like a weed. The chickens kept tearing mine up, so we transplanted it for the 3rd time. It's bigger and better.

(Hey Dave? What do you know about ponderosa lemons? I was surprised at how much they taste like true lemons. They take forever to grow! I finally have 4-5 fruits.)

I do know how good they taste, but I have never even tried to grow them. The only citrus I grow is the kafir lime, which I have to trim back and bring indoors every fall, which I would have to do with any citrus. And I have never gotten a fruit on that in the 9 or 10 years I have been growing it, which doesn't matter to me, as it is the leaves I want.

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