Whether you are growing a few plants in pots or have a large garden, there are various hurdles that you are likely to face. And without the right information, everything that you come across that looks out of place will always be something to worry you. Soil mites are one of these things, and this is more so because there is little information out there about them. In fact, most gardeners do not know what they are.
If you are wondering what those tiny white spots in your soil might be the chances are that they are soil mites. You might not discern any changes in your plant since they are almost always harmless to the earth and the plants, but the fact that they are there will still bother you. And so it is always necessary to figure out how to get rid of soil mites.
So what are the soil mites and are they dangerous to the plants or soil? Once you figure out that your soil is full of these mites the chances are that you will want to know what they are and if they will harm your precious plants. Luckily, most types of soil mites will not cause any problems to both the soil and plants and they can even be helpful in the decomposition process.
Dust mites are tiny creatures that live in soil and compost. They will in most cases be the size of a pinpoint, but some species can grow quite large and up to an eighth of an inch in diameter. But, whether they are large or small they are still a nuisance, and they create an unattractive scene in the pot or garden.
Different types of soil mites can infest your soil, but Oribatid mite is one of the most common ones. Oribatid mites tend to be common in wooded areas where they also aid in the breakdown of the organic matter. These mites will sometimes find their way to the garden and container plants because the smell of rotting organic matter such as leaves, mold, and moss attracts them. And so one of the easiest ways to get rid of these and other soil mites will be by removing the decaying matter from the pot or garden.
Even if you do not take any action to deal with the soil mites, they can still go away on their own or when they no longer have anything to eat. But, if you do not feel like waiting and want a quick solution, you should follow the 3 easy steps below.
Soil mites will feed on the decaying leaves and other things like mold and peat moss. And so if you want to get rid of them you will need to filter the soil, which isn't as costly as mold removal. For plants in a container or pot, this means that you need to take the dirt out. But it is important to be keen and gentle when doing this to avoid ruining the roots and hence killing the plants.
Once you take the soil out, you should sift it to ensure that no decaying plant material that can provide food for the mites is present. If it is in the garden, you will need to scoop out a few inches of the top soil but make sure that you do not affect the plant's support. Also, you do not have to take out a lot of soil because most of the mites only live at the top where they have better access to the food. You should then also sift the soil to remove the decaying leaves.
After filtering and sterilizing your soil the next step is to repot your plants. If you have some new and sterile soil lying around it will even be better than what you were using before but if this is not the case your old dirt is still perfect. For garden soil, you only need to return it where it was but make sure that your plants have enough soil around them.
As you are putting back the earth, it is also a good idea to get rid of any dead leaves in your plants because they are likely to fall off soon and provide a suitable habitat for the mites. Also, if you are planting in pots and containers, you should soak the plants to remove as much of the old soil as possible because it might still contain some of the mites or their larvae. But, make sure you do this as fast as possible to prevent the roots from drying out because this can kill the plants.
After sifting the soil and ensuring that it is no longer conducive for the mites you still need to spray to kill any soil mites that might still be around and to prevent them from coming back. And for this, there are many things that you can use, and it all depends on whether you want to do it with chemicals or organically. But here are some easy ideas that will be very helpful.
Use a garlic-based solution to pray the soil and the base of the plants. For the best results, you should leave about four cloves of garlic in a gallon of water for three or four days, and then dilute the "garlic water" with pure water before spraying.
A cinnamon mixture will require you to use a teaspoon of cinnamon and at least four cups of water. You should then leave the mixture for some time or until the cinnamon settles on the bottom of the jug/container. The last thing is to pour your mixture to the soil to kill mites and other bugs attracted by rotting plants.
Dish soap and starch can provide a simple but effective solution for your soil mite problem. You should mix about three drops of dish wash soap with about three or four tablespoon of starch and five cups of water. Spray the mixture on the soil to kill the mites but also remember to rinse off any part of the plant that might get sprayed.
If the other spray solutions do not appear potent enough, you can use pesticides that contain pyrethrins to kill the mites. However, it is important to follow the diluting instructions to avoid harming the plants.
No matter how efficient the method that you use to get rid of the mites might be, they can still come back if you do not care for your plants well. And for this, the most important thing is to make sure that they do not have anything to feed on by getting rid of any decaying plant material around the plants.
For the garden, this means raking the falling leaves into a compost heap regularly. Although mites also love compost, they will at least not bother you by making your soil their home. But, even with all the care sometimes it is still impossible to keep soil mites away. If they bother you, a simple garlic spray can be helpful before you resolve to filter the dirt.
Once you determine how to get rid of soil mites, you should not have any issues dealing with their infestations. However, they do not pose any danger to your soil or plants. And so if they do not bother you it is a better idea just to let them be instead of using harmful insecticides and other things like soap on the plants. But, whatever you decide to do the health of your plants and soil should always be the top priority.