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    Tractor Supply Company

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    Neem Oil for Plants: How to Use Neem Oil as An Insecticide

    Authored by Tractor Supply Company

    Neem oil has several substantial benefits in the garden and for your house plants. While it has been around for hundreds of years, it has gained popularity in recent years, with many home gardeners and plant parents asking questions about it. Read on to find out what neem oil is, tips for using neem oil, products that contain this beneficial oil and safety tips for use.

    What exactly is neem oil

    Neem oil is made from organic materials and extracts from the neem tree and its seeds. Because of its natural properties that control insect pests, it has a wide range of uses, including a handy pesticide, for both commercial and individual purposes. Organic neem oil is a proven and effective natural ingredient in various products.

    Neem oil (and neem oil spray) is an extremely helpful horticultural oil that aids in organic gardening. Neem oil is also beneficial on your indoor plant garden. It can help you get rid of common pests such as squash bugs, as it is used in a range of garden pest control products, and available in different formulations.

    Products that contain neem oil and neem seed oil

    Many products containing neem oil are available on the market today. You can find neem in pesticides and insect repellants, toothpaste and pet products. It also shows up in some cosmetics and personal products like shampoos and acne medications. Neem has been shown to fight fungal infections and found in some first aid products. Additionally, properly diluted neem oil can be substituted for the use of dish soap to rid your household and garden plants of unwanted pests.

    Because of its effectiveness in cosmetics and pesticides, neem oil is also popular to treat lice. Azadirachtin is a chemical compound found in neem oil and is lethal to nits and lice. This makes the oil an effective medication for children with lice. Many lice prevention and lice treatment products contain neem oil in their ingredients list.

    Dry scalp shampoos and treatments with neem oil are used to help treat and ease symptoms. Neem oil is believed to also enhance the human immune system and can be found in a wide variety of supplements and treatments. The efficacy of neem oil is even being studied in medications and therapies for cancer.

    Pros and cons of using neem oil

    Like any other product, there are both pros and cons to using neem oil. It is a highly effective pesticide. Many products made with neem oil organically repel several pests, including ants, roaches, spider mites, termites, mosquitoes and Japanese beetles. You can also find neem oil in skin care products.

    Pure neem oil can be dangerous if ingested by humans or pets. Be sure to follow all recommended instructions when handling and storing neem oil. As with all other household chemicals, make sure that products containing neem oil are out of the reach of children.

    Safety tips for using neem oil

    Neem oil has many great uses but can be harmful in some concentrations if ingested (by itself or in other formulations). Be sure that you are careful when using neem oil products around babies, children or pets. Like any other chemical, be sure you store safely and out of reach from children and animals.

    When using neem oil on plants, test a small amount on an inconspicuous portion of the plant first. Wait to see how the plant reacts to the oil before using more on the plant and on additional plants. Neem oil can burn the leaves of some plants, so better to be cautious the first introduction. Once you have ensured the leaf is still intact, you can proceed in using it in a more widespread manner.

    Just as there are ideal times of the day to water your plants, there are ideal times of the day to use neem oil. It is best to apply neem oil or neem oil sprays in the coolest part of the day for best results. You want to avoid hot days or the hottest part of the day when treating your plants or garden with neem oil mixtures.

    Neem oil-to-water ratio

    The ratio of neem oil-to-water ratio is between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon of neem oil to 33 fluid ounces of water. Try mixing neem oil with water and liquid soap in a spray bottle to use on household and garden plants.

    The best soaps to use to mix with neem oil are general household dish soaps. Detergents enable the neem oil to mix with water. Any soap can act as a detergent, so use your favorite or most readily available household soap for this purpose.

    Neem oil and the environment

    Neem oil is a natural and biodegradable product, which is why many people prefer to use it over synthetic chemicals. Hydrophobic neem oil provides a water barrier and lasts a longer time for your plants. In fact, this clarified hydrophobic extract has multiple uses: as a fungicide, miticide and insecticide.

    Finding products with neem oil

    Tractor Supply has a wide range of products available that feature neem oil, available online and in stores. Start your journey with neem oil to ensure an organic, thriving and insect-free garden.