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Using Neem Oil

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Using Neem Oil

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/9/2012, 11:17 am

I used neem oil for the first time this past weekend. I read the directions that said to mix 2 tablespoons with one gallon of water and spray on the plants. The directions also had enough warnings in them to frighten me a little bit. Warnings about contact with skin, eye irritation, wash clothes immediately and many other things. Are these warnings overly cautious just to be on the safe side? I'm not planning on taking a swig of the neem concentrate on a hot day after working in the garden and I'm not going to use it as a face wash. This stuff is safe right; if I get some on my hands while mixing it up it will be okay to wait until after I spray the garden and then wash my hands?

The directions didn't say to use any dish soap but I read a few things online that said to put one or two drops of soap into the mix.

My plan is to spray the neem mix at night and soak all the plants. The next morning it should be dry and then I do some dusting with B.T. I will use the neem about every 3 or 4 days for 3 weeks and follow it up with B.T. after it dries. Is this too much? Can you use neem too much?

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Re: Using Neem Oil

Post  givvmistamps on 4/9/2012, 11:40 am

I looked up the neem oil since I was trained in OSHA and chemical safety...this oil is quite heavy in organic acids, which basically means the stuff is possibly harmful in it's pure state, though the pH on the MSDS I pulled said the pH could range from 6.5-7.5. That means it could burn your skin, etc, but probably not; the acidic state of 6.5 isn't very strong. In it's concentrated state, that could cause a burn on your skin, burn holes in clothing, etc, but probably not. (The regulations regarding how a package must be marked regarding warnings are pretty strong.) After mixing, the acids will be diluted enough that it shouldn't be an issue but you definitely want to be careful with the concentrate. Best thing to do is wash it off skin and treat clothing with a baking soda paste if you splash it on your clothes. Waiting a few minutes to finish your task might be okay.

HTH

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Re: Using Neem Oil

Post  givvmistamps on 4/9/2012, 11:44 am

Oh, regarding the adding of dish soap, that's probably to add surfactants so that the oil will be more soluble, but I wouldn't recommend adding regular dish soap. There are too many chemicals, particularly the foaming agents, that are probably less safe for you and the plants than the neem oil itself. My guess is the manufacturer already added natural (organically based) surfactants, based upon what I've read, so this will be unnecessary unless you bought pure neem oil not specifically intended for plant application.

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Re: Using Neem Oil

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 4/9/2012, 11:49 am

I used it last year and I lived to tell about it... Smile

So...first off - my Neem Oil says every 7 days if you already have pests or disease and every 14 days for prevention. I think I did only do it every 7 days (unless you get some crazy rainstorm or something...). I think more than that is overkill with the Neem.

Don't apply when bees are around - but don't wait until night to apply where the leaves will be wet at night in the dark... I tried to apply when the bees were not out but with enough daylight left to dry the leaves before dark....

On the warnings - you are correct, they do say to avoid contact with skin and to wash hands before eating, smoking, etc. Here is what I do: I am careful not to spill it on my clothes. If my hands get wet from a leaky sprayer or I get it on my hands, I will wash them when I'm done applying the treatment. If they don't get too messy, then I'll just be sure to wash them before picking any veggies, eating, etc....

Another thing you can do, if you are gardening where it isn't convenient to wash your hands, is to get a cheap box of disposable gloves (like you would use for food service or medical or hardware applications) and just wear those when you have to treat, and dispose of them when done.

I do use a "natural" liquid dish soap but not WITH the Neem. I will put a couple drops in a spray bottle and try that first (often it's all I need to battle aphids, etc.). If I can't get em with the soap, then I'll graduate up to the Neem treatment. Smile

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Re: Using Neem Oil

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/9/2012, 11:55 am

I bought Neem Concentrate made by Green Light.

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Re: Using Neem Oil

Post  givvmistamps on 4/9/2012, 12:03 pm

That's specifically intended for plant application, so adding surfactants shouldn't be needed. Is there an ingredient list? That would help to figure it out.

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Re: Using Neem Oil

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/9/2012, 12:05 pm

I thought that since neem prevents powdery mildew and other plant diseases it would be okay to let it sit overnight to dry.


Last year I had some frogs near my garden. This year I will be adding a frog house so does that mean I have to stop using neem once I get a resident frog in my garden?

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Re: Using Neem Oil

Post  givvmistamps on 4/9/2012, 12:12 pm

Frogs are amphibians, so they breathe through their skin; I would be very careful to look for a frog in the garden before spraying.

Leaving any sort of moisture on plants at night is not good; it will encourage growth of powdery mildew regardless of the neem oil.

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Re: Using Neem Oil

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/9/2012, 12:29 pm

What is a frog house? Why would they stay in it?

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Re: Using Neem Oil

Post  givvmistamps on 4/9/2012, 12:35 pm

If you want to be specific, it's typically toads that will live in gardens...unless there's a lake or pond nearby, which frogs need in order to keep their skins moisturized. Toads love to find a low, dark, moist place to make their summer homes in. In the space under a shed, under a low porch, etc. Sometimes you can encourage them to live near your garden by placing a "toad abode" in the garden. Some people use a 6"-8" pot, half-buried, and angled so the opening is low enough to hold moisture inside. Other people get a lot more creative, even making an entire toad garden complete with miniature plants hold shade the home, put in a gravel "path" to the opening, etc. Look up toad house images online, it's quite a hoot what people have done to encourage the toads! That said, I'm the type who might just get that crazy...frogs & toads are my favorite animals.

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Re: Using Neem Oil

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/9/2012, 12:47 pm

givvmistamps is right it is a toad not a frog. Why would a toad want to stay in it? I provide shelter, a water source and all they bugs they can eat. They eat the bugs in my garden and my family gets a friend that lives outside in the garden. The kids know to leave him alone because he's working or on duty.

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Re: Using Neem Oil

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