Early Spring Recommended Products

Dormant Oil and Pre-Emergent

Spring has sprung! Have you been checking off your March gardening to-do list? We recommend different products throughout the year to help you get the most out of your gardens. We have three product recommendations to help reduce your work load as the season progresses. 

Dormant Oil

What is Dormant Oil?

Dormant Oil is made up of Paraffinic Oil and water and is for use on ornamental trees, shrubs, fruit trees, and shade trees.  One we recommend is Hi-Yield Dormant Spray, but there are a few varieties we carry that all work very well and are designed for slightly different conditions.


How Does It Work?

They are used to control pests and insects on trees and shrubs by covering leaves and limb surfaces, killing insects and insect eggs. They aren’t toxic or harmful to helpful pollinators because it dissipates quickly before pollinators arrive later in the spring. It’s also safe to use around children and pets. 

What Pests Does It Work On?

Dormant oil is effective on aphids, mealybugs, thrips, whiteflies, adelgids, leafhoppers, mites, and more! It is the most effective on eggs and young insects so spraying before they hatch and are active is important. Mature insects create more work to eradicate from your plants. 

When Should You Apply Dormant Oil?

As the name implies, you should use it when your tree or shrub is dormant but the buds are swollen and about to break open. Depending on which Dormant Oil you use, there are other factors that can affect its effectiveness so be sure to read the label. We recommend spraying when temps are at least 40 degrees but never above 85 degrees.  Ideally, the temperature range is between 50-70 with no precipitation for 48 hours after application.   If the buds have already opened, do not use it as it will impact the development of fruit and will adversely affect pollination.


What is Pre-Emergent?

Pre-emergent is an herbicide that prevents seeds from setting root, significantly reducing the amount of weeds that you will have to pull.  As the name suggests, it works before the weed seeds have begun to sprout. It prevents tiny from developing, but will not affect plants that already have roots growing.  As such, once the weeds have started growing, pre-emergent will not be effective (though, if you pull the weeds and then apply it, it will work for the prevention of new seed development).

How Does It Work?

Pre-emergent creates a protective layer in the soil. It contains chemicals that prevent seed development. As weed seeds begin to germinate, the roots will hit the protective layer. As it is a herbicide the product will prevent it from continuing its growth. You will never see the starts peeking through the soil!!

When Should You Apply Pre-Emergent?

As we mentioned, pre-emergent should be applied before weeds start to emerge from the ground. Weeds have different germination periods, but the end of March or early in April will have the best effect.  It’s better to apply it too early than too late. Apply pre-emergent evenly to the needed area and then water it in to solidify the protective layer – unless you are applying a liquid pre-emergent, then there is no need to water it in. 

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Other useful links and resources:

Garden Plant Helleborus: The First Blooms of Spring

5 Things to do While Waiting for Spring

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