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Reduce Plant Pests & Diseases Naturally? Try Neem Oil

Posted by Hydro Galaxy on

Pest and disease issues can ruin a once beautiful garden, or that grow-room full of tomatoes. But, many of us aren’t looking to use strong chemical treatments to solve these problems. Neem oil can be the perfect multi-purpose, low-toxicity solution. One of the most popular natural pesticide/fungicide we sell at Hydro Galaxy is Neem Oil. Why? Mainly because it’s so versatile without being toxic.

What is neem oil?

Neem oil is made from pressed seed of the neem tree, Azadirachta indica. The neem tree is an evergreen tree found in tropical and warm locales such as its native India, but is now grown all over the world in hot climates. The neem fruit looks much like an olive. It has one seed that can have several kernels inside. It is these kernels that are crushed and from them an extract is purified in order to make the horticultural neem oil. Neem oil smells like a combination of garlic and sulphur; it’s quite pungent in its pure form.

Uses of neem oil include:

  • Natural insect repellent
  • Eco-friendly pesticide
  • Fertilizer
  • Human skin and hair care ingredient
  • Pet shampoo to reduce ticks, fleas, mites and other skin parasites
  • Various medicinal uses

Neem Oil reduces rust, such as on this oxalis plant.

Is it toxic?

The most popular use for neem oil is as a natural pesticide and fungicide in the landscape and indoor gardens. It can be sprayed directly onto plants or used as a soil drench, even on edibles. Neem is non-toxic to people, pets, birds and bees. It has been shown shown to be slightly toxic to fish, so if you have a fish pond just make sure you don’t spray it directly into the pond water.

How does it work?

Horticultural oils in general tend to work by smothering the insects they come in contact with - as well as smothering leaf fungal diseases and prevent them from taking hold. Neem can do the same, but there are also some other interesting components in Neem oil that impact insects. It’s most active component is Azadirachtin, which reduces insect feeding and can also act as a repellent. Azadirachtin also has an impact on insect hormones, which can reduce their growth and reproductive ability.

Will it hurt my plants?

When diluted and applied properly using the label's instructions, Neem oil is safe to use on your garden, indoor and edible plants. However, just as with any horticultural oil, you can “burn” plants if you overuse the product, or spray it on plants in hot direct sunlight. Some plants, such as tomatoes, tend to be more sensitive to oils in general. We recommend applying the solution to a leaf or two and wait 24 hours to see if any damage occurs.

Neem Oil Products We Love:

Garden Essential's Neem Oil, is most effective when used as a preventative and applied 7-10 days for prevention of insects such as whiteflies, mites, scale and leaf fungal diseases.

The Safer Brand BioNEEM Insecticide and Repellent concentrate works as a powerful insect killer and as a repellent. The neem oil in BioNEEM disrupts insects delicate hormonal balance within insects, killing them before they molt into their next life stage. Use on trees, shrubs, ornamentals and flowers.

Leaf shine?

Yep. Even if your houseplants just need a good polishing, Neem oil gets the job done. You can use Neem oil to clean leaves of dirt and dust, which gives them a nice sheen. Plus, you’ll help prevent common pests on your plants. A popular leaf shine, Einstein Oil is a 100% finest quality, first extraction, cold-pressed Neem oil to keep leaves clean and plants healthy.

For more products containing Neem Oil, visit www.hydrogalaxy.com.

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