Neem Oil Correct Use?

ml_work

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I have a post about using Neem Oil on a tree and have some questions about what is best.

It seems that Neem Oil is always (most time) the first thing to try ..because it is safer?

The bottle list how much to use per water mixture, if I use more is it harmful?

My infected tree was at the top of a stand, so, even though I did not see any evidence of problems (shiny leaves) on the lower trees. I sprayed them with the neem oil also. Then this morning as I was misting them with rain water it occurred to me that I was washing off the coating of Need oil...?
Would that be correct?

The instructions state to use the Neem oil once every 5-7 day. If I want to mist my infected tree daily could I use the Neem Oil mixture without harm to the tree?

Also the instruction state to trash what is left of the mixture after about a week or so...this would waste a lot ...I know it is not expensive. But if I left it on the shelf (cool dry room) for months would it loose it strength or become harmful?

Any past experience welcome.
Thanks,
Michael
 

jk_lewis

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because it is safer?
That is debatable, and is being debated as I write this. It's most likely because the makers have better PR departments. There are several pesticides that work faster, decay faster, and have fewer side effects than Neem. Of course, ALL pesticides are dangerous. They are, after all, POISONS.

if I use more is it harmful?
Yes! More is NOT better.

Would that be correct?
Not really. Modern pesticides don't have much residual. They kill on initial contact. By overnight, much of its effect will be gone. Neem may have more residual effects than other pesticides. That's not all good.

If I want to mist my infected tree daily could I use the Neem Oil mixture without harm to the tree?
I suppose. But you will not be doing the biology of your growing are any favors. Continuous use of a pesticide tends to make insects develop resistence to that pesticide. Not to mention all the "good bugs" you would also be killing. Do you have pets? Children?

But if I left it on the shelf (cool dry room) for months would it loose it strength or become harmful?
It is already "harmful" if used improperly. It certainly would change in some manner. The chemicals it breaks down into might be very harmful.

You use the phrase,
The instructions state
several times. Those instructions are written for several different, but important reasons:

1. Your safety
2. The safety of family and pets
3. Environmental issues
4. IT IS THE LAW

Technically, it is against the law if you do not follow them. Of couse, there is no one who is going to enforce that aspect of it. Just your common sense.
 

ml_work

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Thanks for the in-depth reply JKL.
I thought neem oil was extracted from a plant or tree and was just that, a safe oil. I figured it was the oil base that coated the pest and thus suffocated them.
Thanks again for your Help.
Michael
 

sfhellwig

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Being derived from a natural plant means it is likely safer or has a lower impact on the surrounding environment. But it IS a pesticide and must be used properly. JKL has given you the basics, more is not better and don't try to beat the instructions. Keeping a chemical too long may break down to something more dangerous or best case, it will just be ineffective. This summer I used BT for my veggies (bacteria that kills caterpillars after they eat it) and it says to dispose after 48 hours I think. I can barely mix a small enough amount for the few plants I have. But if I let it sit until the next time I need to spray, I figure it won't work and will have wasted my time.

Bottom line, the label is a legally binding contract for it's usage. You think that's a joke when you read it on the label but it's true. As JKL said you would be pretty hard pressed to get caught but it does happen. A farmer has a broadleaf killer mixed up for his fence rows. He thinks "since it's mixed I may as well run around the yard real quick." If someone reports him for using agricultural chemical on his residential property, he gets a fine. This is a true scenario and has been repeated more than once. Another thread on here poked at the Nat Arboretum because they can't use lime sulpher to preserve their deadwood. The label does not state that it is intended for that use so they would be blatently using it illegally if they chose to use it for that purpose. Sucks but just buying the bottle enters you into the contract.

Pending what you are spraying, certain plants don't like Neem. I think Japanese Maples are one of those. Just do a search and you should be able to find the list pretty quickly if it's not on the bottle.
 

jk_lewis

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I thought neem oil was extracted from a plant
So are cyanide, arsenic, and strychnine.
 
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Klytus

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Arsenic?

I surpose a person could use oil of Ulay,it's got to be Ulay and not Olay.

What's with these insecticidal soaps,are they like Carbolic?
 

jk_lewis

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Th soaps get into an insect's breathing apparatus and suffocate them. They're not a poison, and have no residual effects at all. They must come into contact with the critter at time of application.
 

sfhellwig

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Since I happen to be storing it in the house, active ingredient for "Insect killing soap", 2% Potassium salts of Fatty Acids. This is the brand called "Safer", it is approved by OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) and also has a neat logo that says "for organic gardening." BUT it is still an insecticide and you must still follow the label. As it was described to me the spray must hit the critters at which point it will break down their body surfaces. And they ooze to death. Much like salting a slug. What I know is that it works without any concerns of damage. I don't run around spraying it on everything but when I see aphids I soak the plant without caring about surrounding plants or damage to beneficials.
 

ml_work

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Thanks for all the information, Very Helpful!

Michael
 

sfhellwig

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I was just reading down through the thread and figured I would restate a few things for clarity. Since I am an Extension Master Gardener now I feel a bigger obligation to be right (correctly understood).

First identify what pest you are treating (we never actually stated that).
Then use the safest but still effective treatment.
Insecticidal soaps are about the bottom rung of the ladder. Organic oils are next. Both must have direct contact with pest. You need to spray heavily and from all angles since many pests prefer the bottom of the leaf. Since it must have contact, the residue is of no use.

The soap affects the pest's body while oils, tend to smother the pest like JKL said. That is why soaps don't work on certain things that oils do. Oils are a step more cautious because some tell you that you do need to wash them off after a period. The residue can cause leaf problems for various reasons. The soaps are basically spray and walk away.
 

jk_lewis

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I highly recommend the Master Gardener program to all growers of bonsai in the USA. While the MG program does NOT cover bonsai, it gives you a thorough grounding in plants, plant growth, propagation (layering, cuttings,. grafting, etc.) plant identification, fertilizers, pesticides, soils and other horticultrural activities.

An addition to sfhellwig's comments about soap sprays and oils:

1. NEVER use a soap spray on a trident maple. It is likely to be fatal, and will be damaging. Use soaps on other maples with great care.

2. Use oil sprays with care in the summer. After a tree has been sprayed with an oil spray do NOT put the tree back in the sun. You tree will cook. "Dormant" oil sprays are to be used only when the tree is dormant. there are lightr oils for use at other times of year, but again take great care thet your trees do not get put where they can overheat.
 

ml_work

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Thanks again for this Helpful information. As for the tree, I have only sprayed it 1 more time with the neem oil. There was just the 1 whatever it is on there when I took the second picture. I have not seen any more since then or the shiny leaves, but the tree is still in another room alone.
Thanks,
Michael
 
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