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Understanding Dormant Oil Sprays

What Are Dormant Oil Sprays?

Dormant oil sprays are horticultural oils applied to trees and shrubs during their dormant period—typically in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. These oils, often mineral-based, have proven to be valuable in preventing and managing various issues that trees may face.

When Are Dormant Oil Sprays Performed?

These are performed in mid to later winter (usually in late January or early February) because this an opportune time for several reasons:


With leaves shed, the structure of the tree is more visible, allowing for thorough application and coverage.

Reduced Harm to Beneficial Insects:

Many pests are inactive during the dormant season, reducing the risk of harming beneficial insects.

Preventing Overwintering Pests:

Dormant oil sprays help control overwintering pests such as mites, scales, and aphids that may have found refuge in the bark crevices.

The Benefits of Dormant Oil Sprays

Pest Control:

Dormant oil sprays act as a preventive measure against a range of pests. By smothering insect eggs and disrupting the metabolism of dormant pests, these sprays help curb infestations before they begin.

Disease Prevention:

Fungal diseases can also be nipped in the bud with dormant oil sprays. The oils create a protective barrier on the tree’s bark, hindering the germination of fungal spores.

Scale Insect Management:

Scale insects, notorious for harming trees, are particularly vulnerable during the dormant season. Dormant oil sprays effectively target and control these pests.



Dormant oil sprays are a valuable component of a holistic tree care strategy. By embracing this proactive approach during the dormant season, you empower your trees to thrive and resist potential threats when the growing season arrives.