Neem is the superman of the plant world. Also known as, Azadirachta indica, it is a tropical evergreen tree native to India and is also found in other Asian countries. Read more to learn more about it.
Shoo away those pests with Neem Organic Insecticide
Plant a neem tree and you will never regret your decision. It has varied nicknames which stand true to their meanings. Neem is called ‘arista’ in Sanskrit- ‘perfect, complete and imperishable’. The seeds, bark and leaves contain compounds with proven antiseptic, antiviral, anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and anti-fungal properties. The Sanskrit name ‘nimba’ comes from the term ‘nimbati syasthyamdadati’ which means ‘to give good health’. From its bark to seeds to leaves every part has its own unique feature. The chief among them is azadirachtin, found especially in seeds and fruits in a concentrated form.
It has also been found that neem has many pesticidal properties. It contains promising pest-control substances which is effective against many pests that do economical damage. These are easy to process and require less capital and thereby it offers potential crop protection and also off-farm income source. Neem is like a broad-spectrum repellent, insect poison and insect growth regulator. It makes plants unpalatable for pests and suppresses their appetite. A unique property of neem is that it has a “systemic” effect which let plants take up neem extracts through their roots and leaves, spreading the material throughout the plant tissues. In this way it can help control pests like leafminers, which feed within leaves and are normally not affected by sprays that only cover the outer parts of the plant. Neem oil can also prevent certain plant diseases like mildew and rust.
Unlocking its history
The importance of neem organic insecticide was realized in the early 1960s when a German scientist in Sudan saw that the neem tree was the only tree that remained green during the locust plague. Literature confirms that neem can effectively get rid of over 200 pest species that affects plants. The pesticidal characteristics of neem are largely attributable to azadirachtin. The insects were not able to smell this substance and thus had to to taste it, in order to respond to it. Neem doesn’t kill the pest on contact, rather it inhibits feeding and reproduction of pests. These modes of action make it difficult for pests to design a fighting /resistance power against it. Of course, our Indian saints had it all figured out long back.
Why should you opt for Neem?
An emulsifiable concentrate is extracted from neem oil which is used as a pesticide in organic agriculture. It is superior over other kinds of botanical pesticides because it is a 100% biodegradable and non toxic product. It gels well with other synthetic pesticides and also enhances their action. Neem has several compounds and therefore development of resistance is impossible. It also has no effect on natural parasites and predators of pests and hence helps in keeping an ecological balance. Honey bees, mammals and other pollinators remain unharmed by neem.
Neem and its various forms
- Neem Oil: It is extracted from seeds and is used for spraying or direct application on plants for pest control.
- Neem Seed Cake: It is the residue after oil extraction. It is added to amended soil to enrich organic matter and inhibit nitrification.
- Neem leaves: It is used for termite control.
- Neem bark/roots: It is used to control ticks and fleas.
- As an insect growth regulator
- As an organic insecticide
- As a deterrent
- As a fungicide
- As a soil conditioner or organic manure
Preparation and Application of Neem
Select neem that is healthy and free from diseases. Use those utensils that are not used for any other purposes and make sure that they are clean. Do not have any direct contact with the crude extract while preparation or application and also keep it out of the reach of children. Harvest all the mature and ripe fruits before application. First, do a test sample on a small batch and then apply on all of it. Make sure to wear protective clothing and to wash your hands after the work is done.
Follow these simple steps and have a pest free garden and good fresh ripe produce. Share your experiences with us, as well as those ripe fruits. 🙂 Spread the word!