In Today’s post, we will look into some amazing miracles of Neem oil in gardening. We will also learn what is Cold Pressed and Heat pressed neem oil and which neem oil works best for your gardening needs. Plus we will also learn how to use neem oil in your garden with some of the tested and most effective formulae or combinations.
Neem oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the Miracle Tree – that’s the Neem Tree. The botanical name of neem tree is Azadirachta indica. Azadirachtin and Nimbin found in neem oil are the two major compounds responsible for its antibacterial and antifungal actions.
This neem tree is native to the Indian subcontinent and can be easily grown at home gardening level even in large containers.
Before we discuss on which Neem oil you should purchase for best efficacy in gardening, we will list out the best uses of neem oil for your plants and gardening.
- Its Byfar the best Organic Pesticide available worldwide. It has an excellent safety profile and the best efficacy to treat a large number of pest attacks on your plants. It is infact a broad spectrum pesticide effective on pests like Aphids, Mealybugs, Whiteflies, Caterpillars,leaf miners, fungus gnats, Thrips and mites, Greenflies, Grasshoppers and other Scale insects. It kills pests in all their lifecyle stages like the adult stage or the larval stage.
- It has the Anti bacterial, anti viral and anti fungal properties not only for use on plants but also prescribed for humans and pets for various skin and hair problems.
- Its also effective on Slugs and snails which eat away a lot of your garden overnight. I have an important episode to identify some hidden pests and insects in garden by examining the leaf signature they leave after feeding on the leaves. You can watch that episode from a link in the video description or from an end screen.
- It highly Effective in the Treatment of Black spot Rose disease, Rose die back disease and Powdery mildew. We have detailed episodes on each of these plant diseases and problems. You can watch those episodes from the description links.
- Neem cake is an excellent organic fertilizer for your plants. Neem cake is the by-product left over after the process of extraction of neem oil from neem seeds or neem fruits. Its not only a source of NPK and micro nutrients for plant growth, but when mixed with soil acts as a soil conditioner and also antibacterial and antifungal. You can avoid fungus gnats if you incorporate about 10 percent neem cake powder in your potting mix.
- last but not the least is, unlike the chemical pesticides, It does not affect the beneficial pollinators like butterflies and honey bees which are so important for a fruitful gardening.
Now, we will discuss the most important aspect of this video, based on which the quality, composition and efficacy of neem oil depends – that’s the method of extraction of neem oil from seeds.
There are three methods:
- Heat Pressing method.
- Solvent extraction method and
- Cold Press method.
Heat pressing method – as the name implies, its using heat for crushing or pressing the seeds to extract oil.
Solvent extraction means using a solvent like alcohol is used to extract neem oil. This solvent extracted neem oil usually has a low price, because it is turbid and contains a significant amount of water and metals with low content of the important compounds namely azhadiractin and nimbin.
Heat extracted neem oil also has moderate loss of the useful compounds and less effective.
Whereas the Cold pressed Neem oil extracted without applying any heat, is the best and effective source for neem oil. So, when you are purchasing from a local garden store or online, make sure you check the method of extraction mentioned on the bottle or product description. You can purchase cold pressed neem oil here.
How to use Neem oil properly for the best effects?
Before I start with the neem oil recipes for plants, the safety profile of neem oil. It has few effects when concentrated form is ingested like stomach irritation causing gastritis and vomiting. Then Eye irritation and contact dermatitis can develop on contact specially in children. Otherwise it has an excellent safety profile and its completely biodegradable.
Now the recipe for Neem Oil you can make at Home.
Before this, few important points you must remember:
- Because it’s an oil, it doesn’t mix well with water and must be mixed with some kind of surfactant like liquid soap or even shampoo for proper mixing and the coating effect on the plant leaves.
- Make sure you do not spray neem oil during the sunlight – best time to spray is in evenings after the sun fades.
To Make the best broad spectrum PESTICIDE FOLIAR SPRAY FORMULATION for 1 litre:
Take 1 litre Warm Water and add 10 drops of liquid soap like your handwash or even some shampoo. Then you add 5 ml to 10 ml of Neem oil into this. 5 ml if you want to spray as a maintenance pesticide spray for your garden where you do not have much pests.
10 ml if you have lot of pests on your plants.
Mixing this thoroughly before use is very important.
Perform a PATCH TEST to know how strong it is. This means you Just spray this on one or two leaves and then wait for a couple of hours to see if the leaf is wilting or burning due to too much concentration of neem oil. If you pass the patch test, you can spray it on your whole garden safely. Patch test may be important for newbie gardeners or if you have purchased a new brand of neem oil from some company for the first time.
Also make sure you spray the underside of the leaves as well.
- How frequently should I use neem oil? Depending on the severity of pests, use it twice a week for pest eradication phase and then weekly once for 1 or two months and finally if everything is clean use it once every 15 days as a preventive measure.