When searching for an effective and safe product to control insects and diseases in your garden and lawn, there is no better option than neem oil. It’s a potent organic solution to your most tough-to-manage infestations. Neem oil is a natural consequence of the neem tree, which is harvested from the trees’ leaves and seeds. While it has been used as a natural pesticide for centuries, you’ll also discover it is a constituent of many products you use in your home, not excluding:
- Kinds of toothpaste
- Pet shampoo
People in India have been exploiting the neem leaf for its restorative properties for thousands of years to help:
- Bolster the immune system
- Detoxify blood
- Recuperate liver function
- Maintain a healthy circulatory, respiratory and digestive system
Despite its countless benefits, neem oil is perhaps best known for its usage as a safe and effective insecticide. Let’s go one to take a look at top neem oil benefits and uses in the garden space.
1. IT’S HARMLESS TO USE NEAR PETS AND WILDLIFE
Synthetic pesticides that are effective on contact often build up in the surrounding environment, leaving toxic residue behind that can cause detriment to, and even kill pets and other animals in the area.
Neem oil, on the other hand, is eco-friendly and non-toxic. It’s safe for birds, fish, pets, livestock, or other area wildlife when used. It degrades quickly under ultraviolet rays and during rainfall.
2. IT’S ORGANIC AND BIODEGRADABLE
Neem oil is a regular byproduct of the neem tree, a perennial variety native to India. This makes it organic and biodegradable. Neem oil does not have any adverse side effects or harmful ones, making it safe for the environment and population.
To obtain neem oil, the tree seeds need to be crushed, following which water or a solvent is added to conclude the process. Neem oil can have various active chemicals, depending on how it is treated. Some products are manufactured from cold-pressed neem seeds or by processing the neem oil further.
3. IT DOESN’T FORM “DEATH ZONES” AS OTHER INSECTICIDES TEND TO
Neem oil insecticide does not generate a dead zone around treated plants, trees, or shrubs like other synthetic insecticides can. It only targets leaf-sucking and mastication insects.
Synthetic pesticides sneak away from the sprayed areas to create “death zones” that can kill some valuable and beneficial insects as well as other animals.
4. YOU CAN USE IT TO AVERT INSECTS AT ALL PHASES OF DEVELOPMENT
Neem oil kills insects at all phases of development - adult, larvae, and eggs. The active chemical in neem oil, azadirachtin, is responsible for getting rid of insects in several different ways:
- Acting as an antifeedant
- Acting as a hormone disruptor
- Through smothering
Azadirachtin will influence the insect or pest to discontinue consuming the leaves. When insects come into neem oil’s proximity, it also stops the bugs from transforming into their next stage of development by disrupting their regulatory hormones.
5. IT COMMENDABLY CONTROLS HUNDREDS OF INSECTS
Neem oil is an effective insecticide that gets rid of over two hundred species of insects, not just a few. Some of the most well-known include:
6. NEEM OIL INSECTICIDES ARE SUCCESSFUL AT CONTROLLING NEMATODES
Nematodes are challenging to control and can be very damaging to plants. Certain extracts from neem kernels have displayed excellent control over root-knot nematodes — the most lethal of the active kinds. Neem oil works by averting larvae from hatching.
7. BENEFICIAL EARTHWORMS WON’T BE HARMED
While traditional chemical pesticides can hurt earthworms, neem oil has the opposite effect by encouraging their activity.
Why is this important? Earthworms are beneficial to garden soil. As they tunnel through the dirt, they generate pathways that allow air and rainwater to reach the roots of the plants. These little guys also leave behind excrement, identified as casts, that comprise of nutrients for the soil, containing potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous. When earthworms expire, their decaying bodies also assist in fertilizing the soil.
8. IT ACTS AS AN EFFECTIVE FOLIAR SPRAY OR A DORMANT-SEASON APPLICATION
Since neem oil can exterminate insects at varying stages, it can act as a dormant-season application to exterminate overwintering pests and eggs or as a foliar spray to kill and repel insects.
Use neem oil as a latent oil spray to control several insects, including:
- Tent caterpillars, caterpillar eggs and leaf rollers that persist on plant leaves during winter
- Aphids that trigger leaf curling the following spring
- Mites that hibernate on plant leaves
- Scale insects
You can also use neem oil as a foliar spray throughout the growing season to avert common pests, such as:
- Spider mites
9. YOU CAN AVERT LAWN GRUBS WITH NEEM OIL
Lawn grubs depict the larval stage of Japanese beetles, and they can be quite destructive to your lawn’s health. They tunnel under turf and nibble on grassroots. You’ll observe large brown or bare spots in areas demonstrating high grub activity.
Neem oil also operates to control Japanese Beetles by averting them from laying eggs that turn into destructive larvae. It also constrains grub growth and repels them from the grassroots. For the best results, spray the lawn with neem oil at night and do not forget to reapply after rainfall.
10. NEEM CAKES SERVE BOTH AS A GOOD FERTILIZER AND AN EFFECTIVE PESTICIDE
A neem cake is made manufactured organic manure, a byproduct of kernels and cold-pressed neem fruit. Neem cakes are particularly distinct because they act as both a pesticide and fertilizer.
They fertilize the soil by spreading the availability of nitrogen and help control nematodes, white ants, and grubs.
11. YOU CAN SAFELY SPRAY IT ON YOUR INDOOR PLANTS
One of the nastiest feelings is seeing your indoor plants contaminated with aphids.
Neem oil is the safest to use indoors to prevent pests and diseases. You can spray the leaves to kill pests without having to worry about harming your children or household pets.
12. IT’S SAFE FOR GREENHOUSE USE
The conditions in a greenhouse deliver the ideal environment for mites, aphids, scale insects, and whiteflies. Don’t give these pests a chance! Use neem oil to prevent these insects from obliterating your plants.
13. NEEM OIL IS A GREAT FUNGICIDE
You can use neem oil to avert or even exterminate fungus on your plants. Use neem oil to prevent common fungal diseases, including:
- Black spot
- Leaf spot
- Tip blight
To prevent fungi, spray the susceptible plants every 7 to 14 days until the fungus no poses a threat. To kill fungi, spray the plants once a week until the fungi clear up. Then, spray after every 2 weeks to prevent it from coming back.
14. IT ALSO WORKS AS A BACTERICIDE
Neem oil can eradicate fire blight, a bacterial disease that instigates the leaves of plants to wilt and seem as though they have been burned.
To avoid fire blight, you must spray trees while they are dormant. The bacterium that causes fire blight cankers hibernates on branches, twigs, and trunks of trees.
15. NEEM OIL CAN DEFEND YOUR FRUIT TREES AND BERRY BUSHES
Whether you have a plantation or just a limited number of fruit trees in your backyard, you can control the pests that disintegrate your crop with neem oil. Apple trees are often inundated with worms, the two most common being the coddling moth and the mealworm. These pests make their way into the apples and make them unhealthy to eat.
To protect your fruit trees and berry bushes from insects, spray your plants and trees early — before blossoming, then again when the petals drop, and every two weeks after to control these pests.
The common fruit-tree insects that neem oil will defend against contain:
- Wooly apply aphids
- Rose leafhoppers
- Tarnished plant bug
Berries are frequently plagued by powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that can be cured with neem oil, including:
- Fire blight
- Verticillium wilt
- Orange rust
16. PROTECT YOUR VEGGIES FROM PESTS AND FUNGUS
Neem oil serves a dual purpose in the vegetable garden as both a pesticide and a fungicide. It works on arthropod pests that habitually eat your vegetables, including tomato hornworms, corn earworms, aphids, and whiteflies.
Also, neem oil controls common fungi that grow on vegetable plants, including:
- Leaf spots
- Stem rots
If you want to apply neem oil on vegetable plants, spray them in the evening and once more in the morning. Spraying at these phases helps guarantee you are not instigating any harm to helpful insects, such as bees, that help pollinate vegetable plants.
17. NEEM OIL CAN GUARD YOUR NUT TREES AND ORNAMENTAL TREES
Fall webworms, similar to tent caterpillars, are shared pests of numerous nut trees, such as walnut and pecan trees. These pests can lead to the deterioration of the leaves, fruits, and nuts of host trees. Fall webworms construct silky nests in the crotches of tree branches.
To remove worms and caterpillars on trees, the neem oil must come in contact with the pest when you spray it.
18. NEEM OIL KEEPS MOSQUITOS AWAY
It’s nice to identify that what you’re spraying on your plants to guard them against pests, viruses, and fungus can also keep your agricultural time mosquito-free. While neem oil insecticides shouldn’t be smeared to your skin because of inert ingredients, you can apply straight neem oil if you wanted to.
19. IT CAN PROTECT YOUR HERBS
The same pests and fungi that afflict your vegetable garden can also attack your herbs. These pests include:
- Leaf miners
- Spider mites
- Gray mold
You can spray neem oil on herbs in the same way you do other plants. Some herbs may be tenderer than others, particularly those with fuzzy or hairy leaves, so spray a little area first to make sure they can stand the neem oil.
20. IT COMES IN A VARIETY OF FORMULAS
Neem oil occurs in a variety of formulas and intensities, so you can unearth the one best suited for your requirements. Neem oil is occasionally mixed with insecticidal soap to help boost the neem oil’s pest-killing influence.
21. INSECTS DON’T DEVELOP A RESISTANCE TO NEEM OIL
Insects will not become immune to neem oil pesticides like they can with some other types of pesticides. This means that neem oil will maintain its effectiveness, even following repeated applications.
22. IT DOESN’T POLLUTE WATER
Because neem oil is non-toxic and bio-degradable, it will not cause toxic runoff into streams and nearby bodies of water or pollute groundwater. You can use it with peace of mind that it is an eco-friendly decision.
23. EASY TO APPLY AND CAN BE UTILIZED UNTIL THE DAY OF HARVEST.
No matter what concentrations of neem oil you use, all you must do is mix it with water and spray it unswervingly on plant leaves.
Many pesticides can’t be used during some stages of plant growth; however, neem oil can be used throughout the entire planting season up until the day you harvest. Hence, your plants are never without protection.
24. NEEM OIL, WHEN USED APPROPRIATELY, WON’T ADVERSELY IMPACT BEES, BUTTERFLIES, AND LADYBUGS
Pollinators are becoming rare. Chemical pesticides inhibit the bees’ capabilities to gather food, which ultimately leads to their death. However, when used in smaller quantities, neem oil won’t harm the medium to large hives or the honey bees.
Since neem oil only targets bugs that chew on leaves, neem oil insecticides are safe to use around butterflies, ladybugs, and most other beneficial insects.
While simple neem oil has numerous benefits outside of just defending your garden, in order to give your plants the best chance of keeping pests away, healing from disease, and preventing fungus, it is an ideal ally for your garden. If you haven’t already started utilizing its benefits, what are you waiting for?