Spider mites attack Kansas gardens

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Kansas gardens are under attack. Gardeners can see the damage on plant leaves showing yellow or white along with their green color.

But it's difficult to see the attackers. That's because they're spider mites. They're tiny and not easily seen.

Sedgwick County K-State Extension Agent Matthew McKernan says, "Spider mites are a problem that people are experiencing in their gardens across the state. And especially with the onset of this hot, dry weather we've had in recent weeks, that's the perfect environment for spider mite populations to explode."

McKernan said tomatoes, marigolds and burning bushes are some of the favorite plants for spider mites. But, he says, they can and are being found on many other plants and trees. "Definitely spider mites are a threat for plants across Kansas."

He says spider mites can be difficult to control.  But here's one suggestion McKernan gives.  Simply wash them off the leaves.

"One of the best ways to control spider mites is actually just using water. If we can take a garden hose and attach a nozzle on the end to get a strong stream of water, what is best is if we can spray down our plants both the top side and bottom side of the leaf, two or more times a week." 

He says that will knock down the spider mite populations and give plants a chance to recover and produce the rest of the growing season.

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