Neem oil for plants as a pest control measure
Using neem oil for plants is not a new phenomenon. Neem oil has been used for many centuries across the Indian subcontinent, for medicinal purposes as well as a natural pest control measure. As a gardener, you will constantly come across unwanted pests damaging your fruit and vegetable gardens. Most insecticides and fungicides on the market contain synthetic ingredients. Although these synthetic sprays effectively removes the pest, they leave a residue, which contaminates the soil and the plant in due course.
Recently, gardeners have been exploring organic methods of pest control. Due to its natural and organic properties, neem oil for plants as a natural pest repellent is on the rise. However, is neem oil as a pest control measure beneficial to your garden?
If you are thinking of buying an organic pest control product to use in your vegetable garden, then organic neem oil should be on your shopping list for garden must haves.
Where does neem oil come from?
Neem trees are native to Asia, especially the Indian sub continent. The oil comes from the neem tree, which is widely planted across the Indian sub continent. The oil is produced by extracting it from seeds and leaves of the neem tree. Due to its plant based nature, in recent years, the neem tree has found many uses in the West for medicinal, beauty as well as gardening purposes.
What is neem oil used for?
Every part of the neem tree is used for Ayurveda medicine including the flowers, roots, leaves, bark and even the seeds. The neem tree is known for its medicinal properties and therefore, it is widely used for herbal medicinal purposes as well as beauty products. Neem properties are commonly found in herbal beauty products such as soap, hand moisturisers, hair oils, shampoo and toothpaste, etc.
Can I use neem oil for plants?
If you decide to purchase the ready to spray neem oil, then spray your plants according to the instructions on the bottle. Alternatively, if you choose to buy the concentrated neem oil version, then you will have to dilute the oil before use. Add 2 tablespoons of neem oil to one gallon of water. You may need to add a couple of drops of an ecofriendly liquid soap to enable the water and oil to mix. Shake the bottle well and then spray the plant as well as underneath the leaves.
Plants should be sprayed only when needed, ideally early morning. On average 14 to 21 days, however some manufacturers will recommend spraying every 7 days. This will depend on the brand, the concentrate, and on the infestation you may have on the plant. Always follow the instructions that are printed on the bottle for efficient and safe usage.
Neem oil takes a while to work because it does not repel the insect on contact. For the oil to work, the insect must ingest it. Therefore, be patient. Ideally start spraying as a preventative measure before the onset of any insect or fungal disease.
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Where can I buy neem oil?
You can either purchase a ready to spray neem oil mixture or a concentrated version, which should be diluted just before use. Amazon offer several different options, the most suitable neem oil to go for is cold pressed, organic, pure neem oil. Although the cost is higher than the regular neem oils on the market, it will ensure that there are no unwanted additives in the oil.
Is neem oil good for plants in a vegetable garden?
Using an organic neem oil to protect your vegetable garden from pests and diseases is perhaps the most suitable way of doing so. The oil is plant based, natural, biodegradable and nontoxic. It breaks down into the environment like any other naturally occurring organic oil. Using neem oil as pest control can be effective in protecting plants from many common garden insects including aphids, cabbageworm and whitefly. Once sprayed, insects must ingest the oil in order for it to work. Therefore, it seems to affect insects which nibble on the plant rather than pollinators – making it a safer alternative to synthetic insecticide sprays.
Related Article: how to grow vegetables in your garden
Using neem oil on roses?
Virtually all types of plants, including flowering plants, can be sprayed with neem oil. Aphids are a gardener’s worst nightmare. They tend to stick to the budding areas of plants such as roses and tomatoes. If you leave the aphids, they can multiply within hours and damage rose buds. Neem oil on roses is used widely to control aphids.
Related Article: How to plant roses in containers
All insects, including unwanted pests, have a role to play in our ecosystem. Therefore, you do not want to kill all pests. Instead, you want to control them so that they do not overrun your vegetable garden. In an ideal situation, you can control pests in your garden by using natural methods, such as companion planting or by introducing beneficial insects such as ladybugs. However, it is not always as easy to do so and the loss of beautiful gardens to pests can be demotivating. In such instances, the use of organic pest control measures, such as neem oil to control pests, seems like the most suitable action to take. Try an organic, pure, cold pressed neem oil spray and see how well your garden does after one season of use. It is a safe method of keeping your garden healthy.
Related Article: Companion planting in a vegetable garden
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Can I use neem oil on roses?
Neem oil can be used on roses to control aphid infestation. Use organic neem oil spray as a preventative measure as soon as you spot the aphids.
Can I use neem oil on vegetable plants?
Organic neem oil can be used on vegetable plants. Buy an organic, pure neem oil brand to ensure that there are no unwanted additives to the spray. Always follow the instructions on the label to ensure efficient use.