Question: My marigold plants are tan and they’re dying. What causes that? I’m now thinking that I’m seeing some kind of webs.

Answer: You probably are. Spider mites are the nearly microscopic pests, and marigolds are their number one home. Thump one of those dying leaves over white paper, and you’ll see the tiny mites crawling around. Control them with a labeled insecticide spray applied to both the top and bottom leaf surfaces. For the record, once you can see webs, it’s probably too late to save that particular host plant. If you plant marigolds in the spring, you can pretty well expect the spider mites as it gets hot by early June. If you plant a fall crop in August you probably won’t have any of the pests. Their populations don’t swell in fall’s cooler temperatures.

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