Managing pests with Neem
What is Neem?
Neem products such as Neem Oil, Neem Cake are derived from the Neem plant (Azadirachta indica) native to South Asia & India. It has been used traditionally in products such as wax, oil, soap and cosmetic products, however it is perhaps most well known for its insecticide & fungicide properties used in the horticultural field.
What is it effective against?
Neem oil is effective as a contact and systemic pesticide against a wide range of common garden pest issues. Neem is particularly effective against most sucking insect pests, including Aphids, Mealybugs, Scales & Fungus Gnats.
Apart from insect pests, Neem oil is also an effective preventive measure against a myriad of fungal issues such as mildews, rust & sooty mold.
However, Neem is only most effective against newly festered fungal issues, the longer the plant has been infected by fungal, the less effective neem will be in eradicating it.
How to use Neem?
Neem is commonly used in foliar application when insect or fungal issues are found on the plant. Once the liquid solution is prepared, spray the plant's foliage, branches and base of plant. It is also best to spray the plant in the morning to avoid burning the plant. If infestation is severe, repeat application after 3-4 days, otherwise repeat application once a week until no new pests are seen for at least a week.
Apart from a foliar application, it can also be used as a soil drench to increase the systemic pesticide effect by allowing the plant to absorb the neem into its vascular system. This is a great way to keep healthy plants safe from pests as it will serve to deter pests from festering on the plant protected with Neem.
Is it safe?
The best part about using Neem is that it is a natural and organic way to manage pests! No harsh chemical contents that will be harmful to animals, you can use Neem without fearing about your pets becoming ill from accidentally ingesting Neem.
What to buy?
For those with with a larger collection of plants, the Neem Oil Concentrate will be most ideal instead of having to store a large number of RTU bottles.
Lastly, Neem also comes in a cake form which can be used as a soil top dressing, or mixed into your potting mix. Neem cake is an organic fertiliser produced from Neem leaves and branches which also has pesticide properties.