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Lawn mites are very small insects that are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. During dry periods, particularly when mites are found indoors, they are a brick-red color. Mites feed on grass roots and blades with their rasping-sucking mouth parts and can damage the grass often to the point of death. In the Boulder and Fort Collins area lawn mites are usually found on the south facing sides of buildings, rock beds, sun exposed slopes and pine trees. The mites often feed on the grass from November to March during warm and dry weather and take shelter in pine trees and buildings during cold and wet weather.
Mites tend to do the most damage to grass on south facing slopes between the months of December and March often with the peak damage occurring during February and March. Typically, the damage to the lawn is not discovered until after the lawn begins to green-up in the spring. The homeowner will notice that only part of the lawn greened up and there may be small sections or large areas that were killed over the winter months.
The grass in this Boulder area lawn was damaged from spider mites. They feed on the grass during dry periods and take shelter in the pine tree during wet weather.
Did you Know? Spider mites do not like water and a great way to prevent spider mite damage, is to water the lawn during prolonged periods of drought stress. That is right, spider mite populations can be managed by watering the lawn.
During the winter months are when lawn mites are most active. Typically, during this time of year, the sprinkler system has been turned off and the only way to water the lawn is via a hose and sprinkler head. It is important to water the south facing aspects of a lawn during prolonged warm and dry periods during the winter months. Watering the lawn is one of the most effective methods in preventing spider mite damage to lawns.
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Monitoring the mite populations in a lawn is fairly simple. Start by taking a white piece of paper and scraping some grass from a potentially susceptible area onto the paper. Stare at the tiny dots on the paper, and if they move, there are mites. If you believe you are susceptible to spider mite damage and think you need a spider mite lawn treatment you can call our office and ask to be put on our special contact list. If you register for our contact list, we will notify you during periods when grass mites might be active.
During the spider mite season, we closely monitor the mite populations in Colorado and when activity begins, we contact the customers as a reminder to check the lawn for mite activity.
Rory uses a white piece of paper to check for mite activity on the south side of an Austrian Pine on a lawn in Boulder, Colorado.
Mites feeding on Kentucky Bluegrass in a lawn in Longmont, Colorado.
Banks grass mites feeding on a lawn in Fort Collins.
Spider Mites can be controlled without chemicals using a special essential oil insecticide called Ecotrol.
Mite damage to lawns tends to be noticed after the lawn has greened up in the spring. Small sections or large areas of the lawn will cease to turn green. The injured or dead turf is noticeable long after the mites have ceased feeding in the grass and it is too late to control them.
Turf that has been damaged by mites appears in irregularly-shaped straw-colored patches while the rest of the lawn turns green. Damage occurs most often on south or southwest facing aspects of a lawn. Severe damage can occur if the turf is sloped and if the grass roots are shallow due to improper lawn watering practices during the summer months. Lawns that are being watered according to the 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique are 90% less likely to suffer from mite damage compared to lawns that are watered daily.
Clover mite damage tends to occurs within 5-10 feet of a building, fence, tree or other vertical structure. Mites are extremely small and hide in the turf when disturbed, making them very difficult to see.
Clover mite damage on a lawn in Erie, Colorado.
Lawn mite damage killed this entire backyard in a property in Erie Colorado.
The clover mites in this lawn in Louisville take shelter in the mulch beds during winter snow storms.
Spider mite damage on a lawn after a very dry winter in Arvada Colorado.
Grass mites severely damaged this lawn in Fort Collins.
The warmth from the fence heats up the grass in the lawn. Mites like warm and dry areas.
Banks grass mite damage on a lawn in Boulder Colorado.
This lawn in Golden Colorado was damaged by mites during a dry winter.
This lawn was damaged by clover mites. The mites take shelter in spruce and pine trees during snow.
Spider Mite Damage to a Lawn in Longmont, CO.
This lawn in Longmont Colorado was damaged by Banks grass mites.
This lawn suffered minor damage that was caused by spider mites feeding on the grass during the winter.
Organo-Lawn’s special application of an organic insecticide called Ecotrol is the safest and best treatment for spider mites. Ecotrol is an EPA 25b exempt pesticide and is an OMRI approved organic mite control. Ecotrol is comprised of Rosemary Oil (10%), Peppermint Oil (2%) and Other Ingredients including Wintergreen Oil, Vanillin, Lecithin, and Butyl Lactate (88%). These horticultural oils penetrate the soft bodies of the mites destroying their protective exoskeleton.
The organic miticide treatment must be performed while the insect is active. The treatment kills the active mite population by up to 85% per application. Organo-Lawn recommends 1-3 applications of Ecotrol in severe cases to completely kill the mite populations in the grassy areas. The recommended applications depend on the weather conditions of the year. If the winter weather is stormy, cold and snowy then fewer applications will be necessary.
Any time that spider mite activity is active.Usually between the months of November and March
Peak Months - February and March
Ecotrol label [PDF]Ecotorol SDS [PDF]
Organo-Lawn is your local lawn care expert and can explain in Layman's terms what is causing the lawn to have brown spots. Call today to talk to one of our professional lawn care technicians. (303) 499-2000 Boulder or (970) 225-9425 Fort Collins
Spider mites are a soft bodied insects that are very susceptible to many non-toxic controls like insecticidal soaps or even just water. The best organic lawn mite treatment is an insecticidal oil called Ecotrol. It is comprised of Rosemary Oil (10%), Peppermint Oil (2%) and Other Ingredients including Wintergreen Oil, Vanillin, Lecithin, and Butyl Lactate (88%). This organic lawn mite treatment penetrates the soft bodies of the mites destroying their protective exoskeleton. This spider mite treatment will only kill the mites while they are active.
According to the Department of Agriculture we legally cannot claim anything is safe. According to the Department of Agriculture water is not safe. Ecotrol is a OMRI approved organic insecticide. According to the label you can reenter the treated area as soon as the product has dried. All of the ingredients in Ecotrol are considered to be edible.