Gardeners face many hurdles during the planting season. Most plants are susceptible to pests and diseases. Thus, you need to take good care of your plants if you want to obtain a plentiful harvest at the end of every planting season.
One of the most common pests that attack plants is soil mites. Soil mites can inhabit all your crops, especially if you don’t know the proper techniques for getting rid of them.
How do soil mites look like on plants? Usually, soil mites appear like tiny white spots on the leaves. It can be hard to identify soil mites since they rarely cause any changes to the plant.
But the fact that they alter the appearance of your plant foliage might be disturbing. Fortunately, there are various techniques you can use to get rid of soil mites.
Identifying these techniques is essential for the health of your garden. In this article, we take a look at how to get rid of soil mites efficiently.
What Are Soil Mites?
First, let’s try understanding what soil mites are and if they destroy plants. There are various types of soil mites, and most of them do not cause any damage to crops.
In fact, gardening experts report that soil mites can help in fastening the decomposition process. Hence, enabling all your plants to get all necessary nutrients in due time.
As the name suggests, soil mites are commonly found in soil and compost. These organisms are very tiny; thus, you may not be able to see them if you are not careful.
Nonetheless, there are certain types of soil mites that grow big and are recognizable. When soil mites attack your plants, your garden will undoubtedly look unpleasant. Although they are unlikely to cause harm, getting rid of them is essential.
The most common type of soil mite is the Oribatid mite. These mites love residing in woody spots and help in the decomposition process. The Oribatid mites also love attacking potted plants since they love the smell of organic matter.
Removing all organic matter from your garden may help in chasing away these mites. At times, getting rid of all organic matter in your garden is not possible. This is because your plants depend on the nutrients from organic matter to grow.
How do you get rid of soil mites?
In some instances, soil mites eventually go away if they don’t have anything to feed on. So, if you are patient, you might want to wait for the soil mites to go away on their own. However, if you’re going to get rid of the soil mites immediately, try following the below steps.
Procedure of removing soil mites from your garden
Step one: Remove and Filter the Soil
As mentioned earlier, soil mites get attracted to organic matter. In particular, they love feeding on peat moss and mold. Therefore, the first thing to do when getting rid of soil mites is to remove and filter the soil. Be careful as you get rid of the dirt from the soil. This way, you won’t cause any damage to the root system of the plants.
After removing the soil from the pot or container, sift it. Sifting gets rid of all organic matter that serves as a source of food for the mites. If you are removing soil from the garden, focus on the top inches of the soil to avoid damaging the plant roots.
Note that soil mites are only found on the top layers of the soil since this is where they can easily access food. Sifting the soil also helps you remove all decayed leaves.
Step two: Repot soil
Once you finish filtering the soil, return the soil. If possible, consider mixing the old soil with new potting soil for more nutrients. However, if you don’t have any new soil, your old soil will work perfectly fine. Return the soil to the respective planting pot or container and continue tending to your plant.
As you repot the soil, ensure you get rid of all dirt particles around the soil. Remove any dead leaves around the plants since they may end up attracting more soil mites.
Step three: Spray the soil
The next step is to spray the soil. Spraying the soil helps you kill any remaining mites that may be around. Additionally, it prevents mites from coming back to the soil. There are various sprays you can use to kill soil mites. Some include:
- Garlic-Based Solution
Did you know that garlic helps you get rid of soil mites? Make a garlic-based solution and spray around the base of the plants. So, how do you make a garlic-based solution?
Put four cloves of garlic in one gallon of water. Then, leave the water for four days. Afterward, add more water to dilute the garlic solution and spray around the plants.
This solution is entirely safe for plants since it contains no synthetic ingredients.
- Cinnamon Mixture
Create a cinnamon solution using one teaspoon of cinnamon and four cups of water. Allow the mixture to stay for several hours until all the cinnamon settles at the bottom of the container.
Spray the mixture on your plants to kill the soil mites and other bugs. Cinnamon is harmless to plants; thus, you need not worry if some mixtures accidentally splash on the plants.
3. Dishwashing soap and starch
A mixture of starch and dish soap also serves as an effective soil mite killer. Create this solution using four tablespoons of starch, water, and three drops of dishwashing soap.
Mix all the contents of the mixture and pour it into a spray bottle. Start spraying the mixture in your garden to get rid of the soil mites. Dishwashing soap may contain toxic ingredients that can harm the plant.
So, when this solution splashes to your plant accidentally, rinse the plant thoroughly with water.
- Insecticides with Pyrethrin
At times, homemade solutions may not work for you. In such scenarios, it would be best to purchase insecticides from your local garden store. When choosing an insecticide for soil mites, choose the one with pyrethrin.
Be careful to follow all the manufacturer’s usage instructions when using insecticides. Also, avoid splashing insecticide directly to the plant. Otherwise, this would lead to burning.
Taking care of your plants to avoid soil mites
After getting rid of soil mites, it would be best to take good care of your plant. Otherwise, soil mites will always come back to attack your plants. Always monitor your plants and ensure they are in good condition.
Ensure that the mites don’t have anything to feed on by getting rid of decaying leaves and organic matter around the plant. Using preventive insecticides is also a good idea if you want to protect your plants from soil mites.
At the same time, you have to ensure your plants get enough nutrients for healthy growth. Spray the necessary solution once you see soil mites in your garden.
It would be best to start with a mild organic solution. If it does not work, use a synthetic solution.
Take care of soil mite once and for all
At the end of the day, getting rid of soil mites is not as complicated as most people think. All you have to do is use the right insecticide solution. Fortunately, soil mites do not destroy the plants. However, they ruin the aesthetics of your garden.
Soil mites get attracted to the organic matter in the garden. Thus, getting rid of them requires that you remove all organic matter in your garden. Remember, doing this can sometimes be impossible since your plants rely on nutrients from organic matter to thrive.
Consider using organic sprays to remove all soil mites from your garden. All you have to do is make the solution and apply it effectively.