Neem oil is more than a natural pesticide that you can use in your garden. It also goes into many products that we use every day, including soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, and even dog shampoo.
Squeezed from the seeds of Azadirachta indica, commonly known as neem tree, neem oil is rich in nutrients and is a natural treatment for fungus, bacterial diseases, and common pests.
Can you use neem oil on apple trees? You can use neem oil to spray apple trees and protect them against many diseases. The secondary compounds in the oil trigger an immune response that fights many fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. Neem oil is also an excellent pesticide that kills and repels a variety of pests.
Rich in vitamin E and amino acids, neem oil is indispensable in every fruit garden – more so if you have apple trees.
Read more to find out how to use neem oil on your apple trees and why it’s better than horticultural oil and insecticide soap.
Neem Oil and Apple Trees
Pests attack apple trees, especially around bloom time. This causes the flowers to drop, which impacts the size and quality of the crop.
Neem oil keeps pests of different types from the apple tree, and since it’s a natural byproduct of another tree, it has a negligible impact on the environment and wildlife.
What Is Neem Oil Good For?
Neem oil has been an integral part of the traditional medicine of many civilizations. In the Indian subcontinent, it was used mainly to boost the immune system and detoxify the blood.
Modern uses of the oil includes soaps, toothpaste, and cosmetics, but the oil is a valuable pesticide and fungicide that protects fruit trees and vegetables against pests and infections.
Is Neem Oil Safe?
What makes neem oil stand out as a pesticide is that it’s nearly nontoxic. It doesn’t harm the bees, fish, butterflies, or other wildlife.
It’s safe to use on plants and will not damage any plants in the vicinity. You don’t have to worry about your children or pets touching or consuming leaves of plants sprayed with neem oil.
Is Neem Oil Safe To Spray on Fruit?
You can safely spray neem oil on fruit trees without worrying about any negative or toxic effects of the oil on the fruits.
Although neem oil is lethal to many pests, fungi, and bacteria, it’s quite safe to use on fruit trees.
Is Neem Oil Safe for Bees?
If you have bees in the garden, you don’t have to worry about their safety. Neem oil has little impact on the bee population.
Bees can feed on the nectar of flowers already sprayed with neem oil without any issues.
What Insects Does Neem Oil Repel?
You can use neem oil to repel different insects in the garden. These include aphids, thrips, fungus gnats, nematodes, whiteflies, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, spider mites, and mealybugs.
Neem Oil vs. Horticultural Oil
Although both neem oil and horticultural oil are oil based, neem oil is considered the safer of the two as horticultural oil has insecticides to increase its effectiveness.
Additionally, horticultural oil loses its effectiveness in extremely cold or hot temperatures as well as in damp conditions.
That said, if you have succulents, then horticultural oil is a good choice since it’s gentler on these plants than neem oil. It also has a better repellent effect on whiteflies and fungus gnats.
Neem Oil vs. Insecticidal Soap
You can use insecticidal soap to repel pests the same way you’d use neem oil. However, insecticidal soap doesn’t have the same effect on fungal and bacterial diseases.
As for toxicity, while neem oil is mildly toxic until it dries up, insecticidal soap is completely safe to use around children, pets, and wildlife.
How Often Should I Spray Neem Oil?
To treat pest or fungal infestations with neem oil, you need to spray it once every other day for 14 days straight.
If you’re using it to prevent pests and diseases, apply neem oil spray once every 2 weeks.
How Long Does Neem Oil Take To Work?
Neem oil doesn’t start working immediately either on diseases or pests. It usually takes a few sprays to get good results.
You’ll notice the difference between 3 to 4 days after the first application. Remember to keep spraying every other day until the infestation is gone.
When To Apply Neem Oil on Apple Trees
Apple trees are most vulnerable to pests and diseases around bloom time. You need to protect the trees against petal drops.
Start applying neem oil in the spring as soon as the buds open to prevent pests from damaging the flowers.
Other pests will target the fruits as well, so keep spraying the oil every two weeks until right before harvesting.
What Time of Day Should You Apply Neem Oil?
You need to protect good bugs, such as ladybugs, from neem oil. The best time of day to spray neem oil is either in the evening or early morning.
By the time good bugs visit the garden, the oil will have dried up.
How To Apply Neem Oil to a Tree
Before spraying neem oil, you need to mix it with water to avoid damaging the plants.
For best results, mix 2 teaspoons of neem oil with 1 gallon of water. Fill a sprayer with the liquid, and apply it as needed.
Can You Use Too Much Neem Oil?
If you apply too much neem oil, the leaves of the plant could suffocate. The oil coats the leaves and heats up in the sun, causing the leaves to burn.
So always spray neem oil every other day in cases of heavy infestations and every two weeks as a preventative measure.
Does Neem Oil Kill Ants?
Neem oil can kill ants as much as any other soft-bellied pest in the garden.
You can use neem oil on apple trees to protect against petal drops and damage to the fruits. Apply it in the spring around bloom time and continue until right before harvesting.