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Part Two: Application

Most insecticides are a bugger to keep in play; they wash out in the rain, burn out in the sun or find some other equally weak excuse to shy away from the job at hand. You can waste time and money on constant reapplication, or you can apply a heinous concoction which you’ll likely never get rid of. Either way, the resultant chemical build-up is going to send your crop’s toxicity levels through the roof and if you’re particularly unlucky, your own to boot.

“As if that wasn’t enough, neem oil also contains a number of plant nutrients, meaning it can also act as a fertiliser”

Neem oil is, unfortunately, no exception to the vagaries of an all too swift retreat. It is also worth noting that neem oil is particularly susceptible to UV light. But like the boundless love of a faithful Labrador, where neem goes, it takes its goodness with it. Neem oil acts as a systemic insecticide; so rather than washing away into irrelevance, it can be absorbed by the roots of your crop. Taken up into the tissue of the plant it will continue its fine work from the inside. This has the added bonus of deterring larger pests from taking more than a single hearty bite out of your beloved crop.

Not only is neem oil in possession of insecticidal and nematicidal properties, it is equally a very effective agent in the control of plant diseases, and possesses antifungal propensities. Here again it works in both a preventative capacity and as a treatment. As if that wasn’t enough, neem oil also contains a number of plant nutrients, meaning it can also act as a fertiliser.

 

  • NEEM OIL NUTRITIENT VALUES:
  • TOTAL NITROGEN - 1.20% BY MASS
  • PHOSPHORUS AS P - 0.07% BY MASS
  • POTASSIUM AS K - 0.01% BY MASS
  • MAGNESIUM AS MG - 0.03% BY MASS
  •  
  • COPPER AS CU - 10 PPM
  • MAGNESIUM, AS MN - 0.40 PPM
  • ZINC AS ZN - 20.00 PPM
  • IRON CONTENT - 14.00 PPM

So what’s not to like? This glorious substance is effective in both treatment and prevention, bears benefits where experience would suggest side-effects should be, is effective in small quantities and best of all has the environmental conscience of a trustifarian living in a tree. Perhaps the most prominent cautionary note is that neem oil is traditionally used as a contraceptive, so it is best not handled by pregnant women and children. Then again, Hydromag would no more advise pregnant women or children to handle any pesticides than we would take responsibility for any children born accidentally as a result of using neem oil as a contraceptive.

 

Back To Part One

This article was originally published in Issue 001 of HYDROMAG (September – October 2012).

Technical advisor: Bill Sutherland

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