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Homeowners also have a safe, natural, organic solution.
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Neem Oil – Safe Natural Pest Control without Pesticides
One of my least favorite subjects to discuss is plant pest. It’s not from the fact that pest bother me it’s a part of growing…everyone just handles it different.
In application…”chemical” used… and timing. It’s really a matter of preference. My preference…after spraying crops for years is to use the best product for the job with the least amount of damage… to the environment and people. Basically safe chemicals or natural solutions either chemical or beneficial insects.
Indoors there are few choices. Many plantscapers and nurseries are beginning to use beneficial insects to help control mealy bugs – mites and scale. This is called IPM or integrated pest management.
Homeowners just don’t have that choice yet.
Are there any alternatives? Well I’ve found one.
While doing some research on pest and their control for our Dracaena eBook (shameful plug there). I checked out a product that has been out for a while and has slowly be gaining a following and usage.
What is it? Neem Oil
Neem oil comes from the pressed seed of the neem tree – Azadiracta indica Juss – to be exact. It’s native to eastern India and Burma and has been used for medicinal purposes and pest control in India for thousands of years. Claims are that the bark and leaves have quite a few anti’s covered.
…to name a few.
Is It Safe?
Well neem products are used in medication and consumed by humans. So any exposure to neem while treating your plants does not pose a treat. There are no restrictions put in place by the EPA.
I spoke to a few growers that have been using neem oil in their “pest control” program and they are delighted with it. Not just from the safety aspect… but the control. They have found the neem oil to be effective as a repellant – insecticide – miticide and fungicide. It also functions as an antifeedant which discourages insects feeding patterns.
Insects would rather die than eat plants treated with neem oil.
Extracts from neem have shown incedible success with not only battling fungus problems but also many forms of root rot.
Neem biodegrades in a matter of weeks when exposed to the sunlight.
Here are a couple of Tips on using Neem Oil
- Pure Neem oil will retain its potency much longer if stored at about 40 degrees F in low light
- Don’t mix any more than you need
- Add water and a little soap before you spray
- Spray the complete plant including the potting media
- Mix 1 oz in 1 gallon of water. A weaker solution may be used for maintenance