What are the best ways to use neem oil for the garden? Besides acting as a pesticide, can it cure plant diseases? And are there any side effects?
Sarah Beaner, Cleveland, Ohio
There are many ways to use neem oil on plants and around your garden. In general, it’s a safe and effective pesticide that can also treat health concerns in humans. Moreover, it won’t poison pets, either.
Let’s begin with a quick summary of what diseases it treats in plants. The full description of what neem oil can do is in this article: https://www.tipsbulletin.com/neem-oil-for-plants/
First, neem oil gets rid of bacterial and fungal problems like Anthracnose as well as verticillium wilt and fire blight. It controls mold, mildew, Black Spot, and rust, too.
Next, if you’re battling aphids, whiteflies, scale, Japanese beetles, cabbage worms, spider mites, and other pests, you need neem oil. It’s effective against a wide range of insects and arthropods that cause damage in the garden.
Now that you’ve had a taste of what neem oil can do, I’ll discuss how to use it. To begin, you need to know that there are different kinds of neem. There are products with neem as an oil, powder, or in granule form. There are also different brands that might combine neem with other ingredients. But I’m going to stick to pure, organic neem oil made from the Azadirachta Indica plant. Usually, you will mix up a solution with neem oil, water, and a few drops of dish soap. The soap emulsifies the neem oil to help it work better.
After you combine these ingredients, spray the plants with it. But spray early in the morning or in the evening to avoid burning the foliage. And be sure to coat both the tops and bottom sides of the leaves as well as the stems.
Although you’ll need to repeat the treatment every week for up to five weeks, you’ll see results sooner than that.