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Other Evergreens with less Spidermites?

Q: I have had two Alberta Spruce trees in containers for a couple of years. This year they were badly infested with spider mites and turned so brown they have to be replaced.

Are these trees especially susceptible to spider mites and if so is there any other drawf evergreen I could use instead?

Thank you. Evelyn

A: One of my nicknames for dwarf Alberta spruces is "spidermite magnets".

If you want spidermites, plant a dwarf Alberta spruce in your yard and the spidermites might even be there before you get back into the house!

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of possible alternatives. There aren't any other spruces that stay small, so your choices for evergreens would be limited to either arborvitae or juniper. I've seen both of these plants in pots elsewhere, so it's do-able.

Arborvitae can get spidermites, too, so you may not escape this annoying little critter completely. Junipers can get spruce spidermite (a cool season mite), but it's usually nowhere near as badly as on the dwarf Albertas.

The nice thing about arborvitae or junipers is that if you have to prune them heavily, they'll re-grow.

The same can't be said for the Dwarf Alberta, though, so in this respect, the arborvitae and junipers may be better choices.

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Tom Mugridge

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