Neem Oil

Dani Posts: 27 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Pest & Weed Problems/Solutions

I've used neem oil sporadically over the years. It has been effective if I catch things in time. I discovered the start of some powdery mildew on my squash so yesterday I plucked and sprayed.

I'd like to hear your thoughts and experience on using it as a natural fungicide and pesticide.

Thanks in advance


  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    I stay away from it.

    I've had a bottle for 5 years now and I've never broken the seal yet. To me, as long as there is other methods to try, a chemical is still a chemical, even if some organization has approved it for organic use. After all, that organization is the one which is responsible for keeping both large and small companies, plus us home gardeners, happy by telling us we can always use a chemical to solve our problems.

    There was another post in here just a few weeks ago about Neem oil and its use. Let me see if I can figure out which it was so you can read over it.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    Dani, I couldn't find the thread I was thinking of so I stopped a little while and tried brain power instead. I finally figured it out.

    The message I was thinking of was in another garden club I belong to.

    Her question was...

    Does Neem oil kill pollinators. Is there any other bad effects of using Neem?

    My answer then was:

    by Kathi Robinson

    You must decide for yourself whether you wish to use neem oil in your garden.

    A few reminders about it... if you have any water runoff into a pond, stream etc.,yes neem oil is toxic to most aquatic wildlife. Pollinators and insects, if the insect chews on the plant, it is toxic. If a pollinator lands on the plant when it is still wet, yes there is some level of toxicity. It has been proven that up to 3 hours after spraying Neem oil still can affect the life and health of anything landing on it.

    If you or a family member is trying to get pregnant or carry a baby to term, it is toxic to the unborn child. It is also reported to cause liver damage in children.

    Often, if you decide you do not wish to risk it, try insecticidal soap and water as your first option. Or just make your own in your own fungicidal spray right from ingredients in your own kitchen.


    Also check out the discussion in this group entitled Alternatives To Conventional Garden Chemicals

    Some of what you are asking is covered in that discussion also.

  • Dani
    Dani Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball Well this is why this group is so great. I'm glad I asked. I don't live near a water source and I am very done having babies but I don't like harming beneficial bugs. What would you recommend for powdery mildew, aphids and mites?

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭


    Powdery mildew is much easier to control if you get it BEFORE it gets on your plants. So I have just logged in my brain about what time every year it seems to start and I make sure 3-4 weeks before that I start my spraying schedule and I be careful not to miss any weeks. If you do, you will see it starting if you live in an area prone to powdery mildew (which generally means it gets hot and humid outside.)

    It sounds like though you might already be having problems with it. So what I would do is pull EVERY leaf you see it on. If you can't pull them, I know this is going to sound monotonous but snip every leaf ONE AT A TIME with a pair of scissors and then place those scissors in a tub of cleaner while you snip off the second leaf and keep doing this.

    The reason... everywhere you snipped you have just placed those disease spores on those scissors. And when you go to another area of the plant, if you use the same scissors, you are passing along those disease spores. By cleaning your scissors and hand after every snip, you greatly reduce the amount of disease spores you are transferring around on that plant. (That is why it is easier to prevent the disease than it is to cure it).

    If you don't have a cleaner, just find yourself a plastic tub (I use a container about 8" tall that had cat treats in them initially) and fill it 1/3 of the way with water and 1/3 of the way with white vinegar. I keep the lid on mine when I am not using it to prevent evaporation. Use the scissors and snip and throw those scissors in the vinegar water and dip your hand in that water at the same time. Now take out the second pair of scissors from the vinegar water and snip and it goes into the vinegar water plus your hand again. Keep going till finished.

    Now just in case, if you are one of those that wears gloves to do everything in the garden, when working around a diseased plant, NEVER wear gloves. After all, every time you touch that plant you are getting those spores on your gloves and you just transfer the disease around from your glove all over your garden.

    Since I don't have a mite or aphid problem in my garden let me look that one up for you first. I know aphids are generally taken care off with insecticidal soap but I'm not sure about mites. So I'll get back to you on those two.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I made the garlic water from another thread and have been spraying it around my tomato plants. So far so good as far as powdery mildew. I always have a problem with it so even if I can keep it at bay for a few weeks longer than normal I'm happy. It's not the best smelling stuff but I can say it does keep the mosquitos away. 🤣 Every afternoon before I pick blueberries I spray my legs and arms with it and never get bit. The smell does go away after a little while as long as you spray it on your skin and not your clothes.

    Last year I tried baking soda and peroxide. It kept it at bay for a while too but powdery mildew finally got my tomatoes.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭


    Aphids, yes the insecticidal soap method I mentioned was correct. But before you go out and buy the stuff, make your own at home, it is easy.

    First if you don't have a large problem, just take a garden hose and spray water full force on them and it will knock them off. That's the first line of defense.

    If the infestation is too large, mix up this and spray next. Just mix 1 tablespoon of vege oil into 3-4 drops of soap (not antibacterial soap) and then fill up a 1 quart sprayer with water. Spray them and you should soon see your problem is solving itself.

    As for mites, as I said I don't have a problem with them so I have no experience. In my searching I really didn't find any methods which I would be comfortable recommending to you so hopefully someone else will add some info about them.

    Also there is other formulas for powdery mildew instead of what I use as I mentioned above. Different climates, different regions may need a different formula. What works for me might not necessarily work for you. It's all a game of trial and error until you find what works best for your part of the country/world.