- 24 Amazing Benefits and Uses of Neem Oil for Plants
- 1. It’s safe to use around pets and wildlife.
- 2. It’s organic and biodegradable.
- 3. It doesn’t create “death zones” as other insecticides can.
- 4. You can use it to control insects at all stages of development.
- 5. It effectively controls hundreds of insects.
- 6. Neem oil insecticides are effective at controlling nematodes.
- 7. Beneficial earthworms won’t be harmed.
- 8. It can be used as a dormant-season application or a foliar spray.
- 9. You can control lawn grubs with neem oil.
- 10. Neem cakes double as a good fertilizer and an effective pesticide.
- 11. You can safely use it on your indoor plants.
- 12. It’s safe for greenhouse use.
- 13. Neem oil is a great fungicide.
- 14. It also works as a bactericide.
- 15. Neem oil can protect your fruit trees and berry bushes.
- 16. Protect your veggies from pests and fungus.
- 17. Neem oil can protect your nut trees and other ornamental trees.
- 18. Neem oil keeps the mosquitos away.
- 19. It can protect your herbs.
- 20. It comes in a variety of formulas.
- 21. Insects don’t become resistant to neem oil.
- 22. It doesn’t pollute water.
- 23. Easy to apply and can be used up until the day of harvest.
- 24. Neem oil used appropriately won’t harm bees, butterflies and ladybugs.
- Neem Oil for Plants: Products to Get the Job Done
- 1. Easy DIY Garden Fungicide And Pest Deterrent
- 2. Homemade Essential Oil Pesticide
- 3. DIY Natural Garlic Pesticide Spray
- 4. DIY Insecticidal Soap
- 5. DIY Peppermint Oil Garden Spray
- 6. Homemade Garlic Mint Garden Plant Spray
- 7. Homemade Oil Spray For Vegetable Gardens
- 8. DIY Insecticidal Castile Soap Spray
- 9. Homemade Veggie Soup Insecticide
- 10. Homemade Neem Oil Spray
- Applications of White Oil
- Chevron Technical White Oil 100
- UConn Home & Garden Education Center
- Horticultural Oils
- D.I.Y. White Oil
- Yates White Oil Insecticide
24 Amazing Benefits and Uses of Neem Oil for Plants
When searching for a safe and effective product to control insects and disease in your lawn and garden, look no further than neem oil. It’s a powerful organic solution to your most difficult-to-manage infestations.
What is neem oil? Neem oil is a natural byproduct of the neem tree. The oil is harvested from the trees’ seeds and leaves. While it has been used as natural pesticide for hundreds of years, you’ll also find it in many products you use in your home, including:
- Dog shampoo
People in India have been using the neem leaf for its medicinal properties for thousands of years to help:
- Strengthen the immune system
- Detoxify blood
- Improve liver function
- Maintain a healthy circulatory, digestive and respiratory system
With all of its benefits, neem oil is probably best known for its use as a safe and effective insecticide. Let’s take a look at the some of the top neem oil benefits and uses in the garden.
1. It’s safe to use around pets and wildlife.
Synthetic pesticides that work on contact often build up in the surrounding environment, leaving toxic residue behind that can harm and even kill pets and other animals in the area.
Neem oil, on the other hand, is biodegradable and non-toxic. It’s safe for birds, pets, fish, livestock or other area wildlife when used. Safer® Brand’s neem pesticide products also degrade quickly during rainfall and under ultraviolet rays.
2. It’s organic and biodegradable.
Neem oil is a natural derivative of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), an evergreen variety native to India. This makes it organic and biodegradable. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has found neem oil to have “…no unreasonable adverse effects,” making it safe for the U.S. population and the environment.
To extract neem oil, the tree seeds are crushed. Then water or a solvent is added to finish the process. Neem oil can have different active chemicals depending on how it is processed. Some products are made from cold-pressed neem seeds or by further processing the neem oil.
3. It doesn’t create “death zones” as other insecticides can.
Neem oil insecticide does not create a dead zone around treated plants, trees or shrubs like other synthetic insecticides can. It only targets leaf-sucking and chewing insects.
Synthetic pesticides creep away from the sprayed areas to create “death zones” that can kill beneficial insects as well as other animals.
4. You can use it to control insects at all stages of development.
Neem oil kills insects at all stages of development — adult, larvae and egg. The active chemical in neem oil, azadirachtin, gets rid of insects in a few different ways:
- As an antifeedant
- As a hormone disruptor
- By smothering
Azadirachtin will force the insect or pest to stop eating the leaves.
When insects come into contact with neem oil, it also prevents the bug from transforming into its next stage of development by disrupting regulatory hormones.
5. It effectively controls hundreds of insects.
Neem oil is an effective pesticide that gets rid of over 200 species of insects, not just a few. Some of the most common include:
- Leaf hoppers
- White flies
6. Neem oil insecticides are effective at controlling nematodes.
Nematodes are difficult to control and can be very destructive to plants. Certain extracts from neem kernels have shown to provide good control over root-knot nematodes — one of the most destructive kinds. Neem oil works by preventing larvae from hatching.
7. Beneficial earthworms won’t be harmed.
While traditional chemical pesticides can harm earthworms, neem oil has the opposite effect by encouraging earthworm activity.
Why is this important? Earthworms are beneficial to garden soil. As they tunnel though the dirt, they create pathways that allow air and rain water to reach plant roots. These little guys also leave behind excrement, known as casts, that contain nutrients for the soil, including potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous. When earthworms die, their decaying bodies also help fertilize the soil
8. It can be used as a dormant-season application or a foliar spray.
Since neem oil can kill insects at varying stages, you can use it as a dormant-season application to kill overwinter pests and eggs or as a foliar spray to repel and kill insects.
Use neem oil as a dormant oil spray to control a number of insects, including:
- Tent caterpillars, leaf rollers and other caterpillar eggs that remain on plant leaves during winter
- Aphids that cause leaf curling the following spring
- Mites that overwinter on plant leaves
- Scale insects
You can also use neem oil as foliar spray during the growing season to control common pests, such as:
- Spider mites
9. You can control lawn grubs with neem oil.
Lawn grubs are the larval stage of Japanese beetles, and they can be very destructive to your lawn. They tunnel under turf and nibble on grass roots. You’ll notice large brown or bare spots in areas of high grub activity.
Neem oil also works to control Japanese beetles by preventing them from laying eggs that become destructive larvae. It also inhibits grub growth and repels them from the grass roots. For best results, spray the lawn with neem oil at night and reapply after rainfall.
10. Neem cakes double as a good fertilizer and an effective pesticide.
A neem cake is made from organic manure, a byproduct of cold-pressed neem fruit and kernels. Neem cakes are extra special because they act as both a pesticide and a fertilizer.
They fertilize the soil by extending the availability of nitrogen and help control nematodes, white ants, and grubs.
11. You can safely use it on your indoor plants.
One of the worst feelings is seeing your indoor plants overrun with aphids.
Neem oil is safe to use indoors to prevent pests and disease. Just spray the leaves to kill pests without having the worry of harming your kids or household pets.
12. It’s safe for greenhouse use.
The conditions in a greenhouse provide the perfect environment for mites, aphids, scale insects and whiteflies. Don’t give these pests a chance! Use Safer® Brand’s neem oil products to prevent these insects from destroying your plants.
13. Neem oil is a great fungicide.
You can use neem oil to prevent or even kill fungus on your plants. Use neem oil for powdery mildew and other common fungal diseases, including:
- Black spot
- Leaf spot
- Tip blight
To prevent fungi, spray susceptible plants every seven to 14 days until the fungus is no longer a threat. To kill fungi, spray plants once a week until the fungi clears up, and then spray every two weeks to keep it from coming back.
14. It also works as a bactericide.
Neem oil can kill fire blight, a bacterial disease that causes the leaves of plants to wilt and appear as though they have been burned.
To prevent fire blight, you must spray trees while dormant. The bacterium that causes fire blight cankers overwinter on branches, twigs and trunks of trees.
15. Neem oil can protect your fruit trees and berry bushes.
Whether you have an orchard or just a few fruit trees in your backyard, you can control the pests that ruin your crop with neem oil. Apple trees are often plagued with worms, the two most common being the coddling moth and the meal worm. These pests enter the apples and make them unfit to eat.
To keep your fruit trees and berry bushes insect free, spray your plants and trees early — before blossoming, then again when the petals drop, and every two weeks after to control these pests.
Common fruit-tree insect that neem oil will protect against include:
- Wooly apply aphids
- Rose leafhoppers
- Tarnished plant bug
Berries are often plagued by powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that can be treated with neem oil, including:
- Fire blight
- Verticillium wilt
- Orange rust
16. Protect your veggies from pests and fungus.
Neem oil has a dual purpose in the vegetable garden as both a pesticide and a fungicide. It works on arthropod pests that often eat your vegetables, including tomato hornworms, corn earworm, aphids and whiteflies.
In addition, neem oil also controls common fungi that grow on vegetable plants, including:
- Leaf spots
- Stem rots
If you want to use neem oil on vegetable plants, spray them in the evening and again in the morning. Spraying at these times helps ensure you are not causing any harm to beneficial insects, such as bees, that help pollinate vegetable plants.
17. Neem oil can protect your nut trees and other ornamental trees.
Fall webworms, similar to tent caterpillars, are common pests of numerous nut trees, such as walnut and pecan trees. These pests can ruin the leaves, fruits and nuts of host trees. Fall webworms build silky nests in the crotches of tree branches.
In order to eliminate worms and caterpillars on trees, the neem oil must come in contact with the pest when you spray it.
18. Neem oil keeps the mosquitos away.
It’s nice to know that what you’re spraying on your plants to protect them from pests, viruses and fungus can also keep your gardening time mosquito free. While neem oil insecticides shouldn’t be applied to your skin because of inert ingredients, you can apply straight neem oil if you wanted to.
19. It can protect your herbs.
The same pests and fungi that plague your vegetable garden can also attack your herbs. These pests include:
- Leaf miners
- Spider mites
- Gray mold
You can spray neem oil on herbs, just as you do other plants. Some herbs may be tenderer than others, especially those with fuzzy or hairy leaves, so spray a small area first to make sure they can tolerate the neem oil.
20. It comes in a variety of formulas.
Neem oil comes in a variety of formulas and concentrations, so you can find the one best suited for your needs. Neem oil is sometimes mixed with insecticidal soap to help boost the neem oil’s pest-killing power.
You can also find neem products in other forms, including:
- Wettable powders
- Emulsifiable concentrates
21. Insects don’t become resistant to neem oil.
Insects do not become immune to neem oil pesticides, as they can with other types of pesticides. This means that neem oil remains effective, even after repeated applications.
22. It doesn’t pollute water.
Because neem oil is biodegradable and non-toxic, it will not pollute ground water or cause toxic runoff into streams and nearby bodies of water. You can use it with total peace of mind.
23. Easy to apply and can be used up until the day of harvest.
No matter what concentration of neem oil you use, all you need to do is mix it with water and spray it directly on plant leaves. Follow the label’s directions to make sure you are mixing the right proportions of oil and water.
Many pesticides can’t be used during certain stages of plant growth; however, neem oil can be used throughout the planting season up until the day you harvest so your plants are never without protection.
24. Neem oil used appropriately won’t harm bees, butterflies and ladybugs.
Pollinators are becoming rare. Chemical pesticides inhibit the bees’ ability to gather food, which ultimately leads to their death. However, neem oil when used in smaller quantities won’t harm medium to large hives or the honey bees so you can keep your pollinators and plants alive.
Since neem oil only targets bugs who chew on leaves, neem oil insecticides are safe to use around butterflies, ladybugs, and most other beneficial insects.
Neem Oil for Plants: Products to Get the Job Done
While simple neem oil has many benefits outside of just protecting your garden, in order to give your plant the best chance of keeping pests away, healing from disease and preventing fungus we’ve formulated two different organic neem oil insecticide products.
- Safer® Brand Garden Defense Concentrate with Neem Oil contains clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil that makes a more effective product with a longer shelf life and less phytotoxicity compared to crude neem oil.
- Safer® Brand End ALL™ With Neem Oil RTU is a ready-to-use 1 gallon product that treats up to 700 square feet.
- Safer® Brand BioNEEM® Insecticide With Neem Oil Concentrate is perfect for protecting your ornamental plants, shrubs and flowers.
- Safer® Brand Neem Oil Concentrate creates up to 16 gallons of Neem Oil spray, allowing you to tackle fungus, mites and insects.
- Safer® Brand Neem Oil RTU spray is a fungicide, miticide and insecticide that requires no premixing, just spay it on the plants you want to protect.
To start taking advantage of all the benefits of neem oil for plants, browse the neem oil products from Safer® Brand and choose the best one for your gardening needs.
Spring is nearly here and you know what that means – it’s time to start planning your garden! If you’re like me, you love organic food straight from your own vegetable garden. There is just something so satisfying about gathering foods from the garden that you have grown yourself and preparing family dinners from veggies that you know are safe. But, do you really know that they are safe? What kind of pesticides or insecticides are you using on your garden every year? Do you know that some of those products contain ingredients that can be harmful to your family?
So what are you to do about the bugs? Well, you could always make your own all natural pesticides and rid your garden of bugs without putting things on your foods that may be harmful. And, I have just the list of homemade insecticides to help you. I have found 10 all natural DIY insecticides that you can add to your garden this year to knock out those bugs that eat your plants. And, these don’t contain anything that will be harmful to you or your family. DIY really is the better way to go. And you should also check out these 15 organic homemade fertilizers that will really help those plants to grow.
Most of these insecticides can be made with things that you probably have in your kitchen right now. From mild dish detergent and baking soda to essential oils, you may have everything that you need to keep those pesky bugs off of your plants this spring and help your plants to grow strong and beautiful. And, if you want to get started really early with some seedlings or you want to keep those fresh veggies and fruits coming all year long, be sure to take a look at these 20 free DIY greenhouse plans.
Table of Contents
1. Easy DIY Garden Fungicide And Pest Deterrent
This easy to make homemade garden fungicide will keep your plants healthy and deter pests. You just mix baking soda, mild dish soap – preferably something biodegradable without phosphates – and water. You just mix the ingredients together into a spray bottle and spray your plants regularly to help them grow healthy and bug-free. And, there is nothing in this solution that could be harmful to you, your family or your pets.
2. Homemade Essential Oil Pesticide
If you have yet to discover the joys of using essential oils, you really need to start now. And, this homemade essential oil pesticide can be your first project. This one is so easy to mix up and it works really well on all types of bugs. You use three different essential oils and mix with water and a mild dish soap. Then just spray this on your plants and watch those bugs find a new home. There are some wonderful DIY essential oil sprays for your entire home.
3. DIY Natural Garlic Pesticide Spray
Garlic deters much more than vampires. You can use a homemade garlic spray in your garden to keep slugs, snails, aphids and just about any other garden creature off of your plants. You just mix garlic cloves and water to create the solution and it is safe enough to use as often as you need it – although just one spray is enough to deter most garden pests. Plus, the garlic is a natural solution that is perfectly safe and healthy and it won’t penetrate your plants – so your cucumbers won’t taste like garlic.
4. DIY Insecticidal Soap
This easy DIY insecticide uses Fels Naptha soap and water and it is one of the most effective sprays that you can make. It’s also much cheaper than anything you can buy at the farmer’s supply store and it is much safer for you to use on your garden plants. You just grate the soap and create the solution – it only takes a few minutes – and then spray all of your garden plants to rid them of those pesky bugs and insects.
5. DIY Peppermint Oil Garden Spray
Peppermint oil smells wonderful and it can really help you to keep pests away. There are some great DIY home spray recipes that use peppermint oil to keep ants and flies out of your home and this one uses the same essential oil to keep bugs out of your garden. You can get peppermint oil at any health food store or anywhere that they sell essential oils – I buy mine at the Dollar Store and it’s just $5 per bottle.
6. Homemade Garlic Mint Garden Plant Spray
This homemade garlic mint plant spray works after just an application or two and it keeps away all of those pesky garden bugs. This one is super easy to make up and it gives you much better results than anything that you can buy in the store – plus it is all natural so it is very safe for you and your family. The combination of garlic cloves, mint leaves and cayenne pepper will rid your garden of bugs and help to repair damage to plants that are already affected by insects. Once you learn how to quickly peel a head of garlic, this one is a cinch to mix up.
7. Homemade Oil Spray For Vegetable Gardens
If your garden is affected by aphids, spider mites and other crawly pests, an easy to make homemade oil spray is the answer. This one only needs dishwashing liquid, cooking oil and water and it is super effective against those bugs that want to eat your veggie plants before they have the chance to produce. It’s also really safe to use – it won’t harm your plants or the foods that come from them.
8. DIY Insecticidal Castile Soap Spray
Castile soap is super safe for your garden and it can be very effective in keeping those pests away. You don’t even need that much soap to mix up a spray bottle full so one package of soap will do several spray bottles of insecticide. You want something used on your plants that isn’t going to harm them or cause chemicals to build up on the foods that they produce. Castile soap is perfect because it is safe to use on plants and effective on bugs.
9. Homemade Veggie Soup Insecticide
Believe it or not, the vegetables that you are growing in your garden can actually help you to keep those plants safe from bug infestations. For this natural veggie soup solution, you need garlic, onion, jalapeno, dish soap and a few other basic supplies that you probably have in your kitchen right now. You make a soup from the ingredients and then store in a spray bottle. The combination of ingredients make this one effective against just about any bug that may try to infest your garden.
10. Homemade Neem Oil Spray
Neem oil is excellent for keeping away all types of garden bugs and this solution is really easy to mix up. You will need pure cold pressed Neem oil, along with an antiseptic type liquid soap and some water to mix this up. You just mix up all of the ingredients than then spray your plants a time or two until you notice a vast improvement in the number of insects. It shouldn’t take more than one or two treatments to rid your garden of insects and leave your plants healthy and thriving.
Horticultural oils can be used to control aphids on roses. Oils are some of the most useful pesticides available for managing pests on woody ornamentals and fruit trees. They are also widely used on many herbaceous flowers and vegetables. Oils control a range of soft-bodied insects and mites, as well as several foliar diseases including powdery mildew (Table 1). Not only do oils leave no toxic residues, they are safe to use around people, pets, and wildlife; have low impact on beneficial insects; and won’t harm honey bees unless applied directly to flowers during the time of day that bees are foraging.
Oils used for managing pests on plants are most often called horticultural oils. Horticultural oils are derived from petroleum sources, and are sometimes called mineral oil, narrow range oil or superior oil. Other oils produced to control pests may be made from plants, such as canola oil, neem oil or cottonseed oil. A number of other plant extract oils have also recently become available on the market.
How they work
Regardless of their source, the primary way oils kill insects and mites is the same — by suffocation. Insects breathe through structures called spiracles. Oils block spiracles, reducing the availability of oxygen and interfering with various metabolic processes. When applied to insect or mite eggs, oils can penetrate the shells and kill the developing embryo. Oils may also act as a repellent in some cases, especially with some of the plant-based oils, and some such as neem oil have anti-feeding properties.
Because oils kill by smothering insects, apply the product so it completely covers the target pests. Careful attention must be paid to treat both the underside and topside of leaves, buds, and shoots and all locations where the insects or mites may be located. Spraying during the dormant season, when leaves are off trees or shrubs, is recommended for scales and some other insects, because it is easier to get good coverage on leafless trees. Because oils leave no toxic residues, they won’t generally kill insects that move onto plants after treatment.
Usually, immature stages of insects are most susceptible, especially with scale insects, mealybugs and true bugs. Insects that feed within curled leaves, such as leaf-curling aphids, leaf miners, or gall-forming species, are protected from oil sprays and not well controlled. Oils don’t control caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, and boring insects, with the exception of some caterpillars in the egg stage.
In some cases, oils improve the efficacy of other insecticides. For instance, applications of both codling moth granulosis virus (Cyd-X) and spinosad are more effective against codling moth when 1% oil is added to the spray.
For managing certain foliar diseases such as powdery mildew, oils can act as both a preventive and a curative fungicide, smothering fungal growth and inhibiting spore production. In many cases, the efficacy of oils in reducing powdery mildew is superior to standard synthetic fungicides, especially in reducing existing infections.
Tips to know
All oils now sold as pesticides are highly refined and can be used safely on most plants throughout most of the year, unless plants are drought-stressed. Exceptions include Japanese and red maples, walnuts and smoke tree. Redbud, juniper, cedar, spruce and Douglas-fir are also sometimes injured. Injury usually involves discoloration of leaves or needles. Walnut is very sensitive to oil sprays applied during bud break, and applications aren’t recommended during the dormant season because of potential damage to buds and shoots.
Many plants are sensitive to oil damage when water-stressed, so be sure plants have been adequately irrigated before application. Most oil labels also warn against applying oils when temperatures are below freezing or above 90°F. Oils shouldn’t be applied in combination with sulfur, or within 30 days of a sulfur application, because of potential phytotoxicity. As with any pesticide, always check product labels for precautions or other restrictions before applying.
Table 1. Plant Pests Oil Sprays Control.
- aphid eggs
- caterpillar eggs on bark (leafrollers, tent caterpillars, and tussock moth)
- overwintering mites or mite eggs
- scale insects (nymphs)
Spring and summer—foliar applications
- black spot on rose
- eriophyid mites
- powdery mildew
- sawflies feeding on foliage
- scale Insects (nymphs)
- spider mites
This article is from the May 2013 issue of the UC IPM Green Bulletin. This issue of the bulletin also contains these articles:
- What Can Landscape Managers Do to Help Honey Bees?
- Pesticide MSDS Format Changes
- New Active Ingredient Available for Snails, Slugs
- Visit UC IPM’s Web Site for Free Online Training
- Revised Resources
- Ask the Expert: bee sting hazards, insecticidal soaps
Applications of White Oil
What is White Oil?
White oil has a variety of names that correspond towards the intended use of the oil. The general, and interchangeable, names are white oil and mineral oil. A few other names include paraffinum perliquidum, paraffin oil, liquid paraffin, and liquid petroleum. White oil is a colorless and odorless mixture of higher alkanes from a mineral source. This mineral source is usually from a distillate of petroleum.
Uses for 70 White Oil
70 White Oil indicates the type of viscosity the oil carries. The higher the number, the thicker the product is. 70 White Oil is mainly used towards consumer products and commodities that interacts with humans. The areas the oil can be used in range from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals to food productions. Within cosmetics, white oil 70 can be used for:
- Baby Oil
- Creams and Lotions
- Suntan Oils
- Makeup removers
- Hair Products
- And bath oils.
70 White Oil also has several applications within pharmaceuticals as being an ingredient within topical ointments and capsule ointments. In the food industry, the product can be applied in egg coatings, coatings for fruit and vegetables, and within food packing materials.
Uses for 220 White Oil
Similar to 70 White oil, 220 White Oil is used in similar cosmetic products such as lotions, baby oil, and suntan oil. They are also similar in their applications with the food industry by being found within food packing materials. The difference surfaces with the 220 White Oil being used within laxatives rather than topical ointments. 220 White Oil also plays a key role in the production of plastics and elastomers such as:
- Polystyrene internal lubricants,
- PVC external lubricants,
- Plastic annealing, and
- Catalyst carriers.
Uses for 350 White Oil
Similar to its other counterparts, 350 White Oil is used within baby oil, creams and lotions, suntan oil, and sunscreen within the personal care industry. Just as 220 White Oil was used mainly towards laxatives in pharmaceuticals, 350 White Oil follows suite. Furthermore, 220 and 350 White Oil share identical applications with plastics and elastomers other than 350 White Oil being used within thermoplastic rubber extender oils. Within the food industry, the product is used within bakery pan oils, food packing materials, and food grade lubricants and greasers.
Some other applications for mineral oil in general include:
- Being used as a brake fluid
- The use of it as a principle fuel in some scented candles
- As a honing oil when sharpening edge tools
- It being an inexpensive alternative for storing reactive metals
- It being used within adhesives
- And as an anti-rust agent for blades.
For more information regarding the best white oil for your specific needs, please email [email protected], or call (800)-563-1305.
Whit oil is great for organically controlling pests, like these aphids
White oil is among the safest and most effective organic ways of controlling many sap sucking and leaf chewing pests in the garden. Gardeners have been using white oils for centuries, so they’ve been thoroughly tested. The best thing about white oil is that you can make it yourself!
White Oil Ingredients:
- Two cups of vegetable oil
- Half a cup of washing up liquid
Put the oil and washing up liquid into a jar or bottle. Put the lid on and give it a good shake and you’ve got concentrated white oil.
Label the concentrated mixture and store it in a cool, dry place. It’s a good idea to also label it with the dilution rate – two dessert spoons per litre of water.
Over time the two liquids may begin to separate again, just give them a good shake prior to use.
White oil is a fantastic organic method for controlling pests like scale and aphids
Dilute the concentrated white oil by adding two dessert spoons (about 20mL) to one litre of water. Mix well and add to a sprayer.
On hot days, it’s best to spray your plants in the cool of the morning. Cover both sides of the leaves and all of the bark. Don’t use the white oil on hairy or soft leaved plants like lettuce, because it will burn the leaves.
White oil will control scale, aphids, mealy bug, citrus leaf miner and caterpillars. The white oil blocks the pests breathing pores and suffocates them. Because it works in this way, there is no chance of resistance to it. White oil is a perfect organic garden pest solution!
Chevron Technical White Oil 100
Chevron Technical White Oil 100
Chevron Technical White Oil delivers value through:
High quality control – Enables customer to use lubricants almost as pure as the food being processed.
Odorless and tasteless – Food processor can be sure his product will not be adulterated if food contact should occur.
Nonstaining – The oil is crystal clear and will not stain.
Chevron Technical White Oil is a high quality, highly refined, odorless, tasteless, crystal clear, paraffinic, technical grade white oil.
Chevron Technical White Oil is hydrocracked and dewaxed using a catalytic process, and then subsequently hydrofinished.
Chevron Technical White Oil
- provides outstanding oxidation stability
- is excellent stock oil from which to blend finished lubricating oils in food processing applications.
- accepts a wide variety of additives including rust and corrosion inhibitors, oxidation inhibitors, antiwear agents, and thickeners
- has characteristics which make it an excellent process or carrier oil.
Chevron Technical White Oil has many applications, primarily in the food processing industries, where an uncompounded technical grade white oil can be used. Some specific applications include:
- lubricants for drawing, stamping.
- forming and rolling of aluminum foil used in food packaging.
- a component of animal feed to reduce dusting and to serve as a lubricant and moisture barrier in the preparation of pellets, cubes, etc.
- a fiber lubricant in the manufacture of food containers made from textile fibers.
- plasticizers for rubber used on conveyor belts; also used in hoses, rollers, etc.
- a lubricant and rust preventive for food machinery and other equipment where the lubricant might incidentally come in contact with food.
- a cleaner and rust preventive for packaging use and butcher equipment.
- a defoamer in the manufacture of paper and adhesives intended for food packaging.
Chevron Technical White Oil
meets U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements
- for incidental food contact, 21 CFR 178.3620(b)
- for use in animal feed, 21 CFR 573.680
is authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as H1 lubricants for use in federally inspected meat and poultry plants where incidental food contact may occur.
is accepted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for use in Registered Plants and for use on food equipment or machinery parts where contact with food is only incidental.
is certified Kosher and Pareve.
UConn Home & Garden Education Center
Today’s highly refined horticultural or mineral oils can be a valuable tool to manage insect and mite pests on fruits, berries, vegetables, roses, flowering shrubs, ornamentals, and houseplants. Horticultural oils can also control certain diseases such as powdery mildew on susceptible plants.
What Are Horticultural Oils?
Horticultural oils are made from a complex mixture of petroleum hydrocarbons produced from paraffinic crude oil. Horticultural oils are from 92 to 99 percent pure. After distillation and filtration, they are formulated with an emulsifier to blend with water.
Plant based oils are also available that may contain soybean, cottonseed, sesame, neem or other oils. Some may also contain essential oils from herbs and spices. These oils are less refined and may cause more plant damage than the more highly refined horticultural oils.
Dormant and Summer Oils
Since the 1880’s horticultural spray oils were primarily used as “dormant oils” applied before bud break in the spring to control pests on fruit and shade trees. Dormant oil are very effective against the eggs of certain mites, and scale insects that overwinter on fruit and shade trees.
A new generation of more highly refined horticultural oils also known as” all seasons spray oils” or summer oils can be safely used on many plants, including vegetables during the growing season.
How Do Oils Work?
Horticultural oils are applied as sprays with direct contact needed to ensure complete and thorough coverage of the targeted insect or mite pest.
Horticultural oils work by suffocation when the spray forms a coating of oil on the insect’s body, blocking the spiracles or breathing opening.
Horticultural oils also may interact with insect fatty acids disrupting cell membranes and metabolism.
They may also have repellent properties acting as an antifeedant (discouraging feeding) for the euonymus webworm and some leafrollers.
Horticultural oils can also be used against powdery mildew whose fungal strands or hyphae grow on the surface of plant leaves on susceptible plants.
What Pests Are Controlled?
Horticultural oils are most effective against many soft bodied pests including aphids, adelgids, spider mites, scale insects, greenhouse whiteflies, mealybugs, plant bugs, lace bugs and some caterpillars. Horticultural oil can also be used against powdery mildew on certain plants.
Benefits of Horticultural Oils
Horticultural oils are also safe to mammals (including humans), some birds and reptiles. Horticultural oils are not selective so will kill any susceptible beneficial insects, as well as pests, that are coated by the oil. For example, when treating for spider mites, predatory mite eggs will be killed by the oil as easily as spider mite eggs. However, horticultural oil evaporates rapidly, and, when dried, it will have little toxic activity. Thus, beneficial insects may safely reenter oil treated areas after the spray residue has dried. Spot treatments with oil will minimize the impact on beneficial insects, because only those individuals covered by the oil will be affected. Because oils work by smothering (mechanically), there is less chance that insects or mites will develop resistance to the oils. Some formulations can be used by organic gardeners.
Limitations of Horticultural Oils
In spite of these benefits, many potential users do not use horticultural oils because of a concern that phytotoxicity (plant damage or browning or burning of the leaves) will occur. The heavier, less-purified dormant oils used in the past, were more likely to cause phytotoxic reactions than the more highly refined oils in use today. Superior horticultural oils can now be safely used on more than forty-five different types of woody ornamentals, as well as various fruits, berries, and vegetables. Because there is little residual effect, oils may need to be re-applied (consult label for more information). Spray in the morning or evening to avoid contact with foraging bees.
How to Apply
Dormant and delayed dormant Applications – can be applied before buds break or a delayed dormant application when buds are open at the tip and showing 1/16 to ½ inch of green tissue. Do not apply 48 hours before or after a freeze occurs or is predicted. Usually a higher rate of oil is applied for the dormant application that is listed on the label.
Summer Applications – can be applied to certain woody ornamentals (see label), as well as vegetables, berries, flowers etc.
Mix with water according to label directions and spray so that there is thorough coverage.
Precautions When Using Oils
The potential for plant damage depends upon plant timing, plant species, temperature and type of oil.
Some precautions are:
Avoid drift to sensitive plants.
Avoid using on sensitive plants.
Treating plants that are under moisture or drought stress during the summer may result in marginal leaf burns.
Do not apply when temperatures are above 90° F.
Oil sprays also should be avoided when the relative humidity is high (over 90% for 48 hours), or rain likely, because the slower drying time of the oil on the foliage may cause phytotoxicity.
During summer, leave at least a two-week interval between treatments.
Do not use on transplants or apply to tender young shoots.
Avoid dormant oil treatments in the fall, before true dormancy has taken place, or twig and shoot dieback on deciduous plants may occur the following spring.
Do not apply when temperatures are below 40 °F because the emulsion breaks down.
Do not apply with sulfur sprays or sulfur containing products or within 2 weeks of a sulfur spray because it reacts with oils to form plant damaging compounds causing foliar injury and leaf drop. Some plants may be more sensitive than others, however, and the interval required between sulfur and oil sprays may be even longer; always consult the fungicide label for any special precautions
Do not use on open blooms. Treating bedding plants in flower may result in spotting of the flowers.
Oil sprays on wax begonia and coleus may cause pitting and speckling of the foliage.
Do not use on ferns.
Symptoms of Plant Damage
Phytotoxic symptoms may first appear as a general chlorosis as the foliage turns a light yellow. Treated leaves may appear water-soaked, turn dark purple and drop from the plant.
Plants That May Be Sensitive to Horticultural Oils
Two classes of woody ornamentals sensitive to oil when applied under seasonal conditions.
Oil Sensitive Plants
Time of Treatment
Maples (Japanese, Silver, Sugar)
Black Walnut, Japanese Walnut
Blue Spruce/ Koster Spruce
Will lose blue color*
Plants with a Tendency Toward Sensitivity
Time of Treatment
Spruce; Norway, White
Dormant, Flowering time
Table adapted from: Johnson, W.T. 1985. Horticultural Oils, J. of Environmental Horticukure. 3(4): 188 – 191.
*Treating blue spruce or blue rug junipers, results in a temporary loss of blue color although they will not be damaged permanently. Oil will remove bloom on grapes.
If uncertain of the reaction of a cultivar, spot treat with oil before infestations occur. This will determine if horticultural oil can be safely used should pest problems develop later.
Plant Based Oils
Some plant based oils are commercially available including vegetable oils such as cottonseed and soybean oil.
Some may also contain essential oils from herbs and spices such as thyme, mint or cinnamon. These oils are less refined and may cause more phytotoxicity (plant damage) than the more highly refined horticultural oils.
Neem Based Oils
Neem oil works in a number of different ways. The oil forms a coating on the insect’s body, blocking the breathing openings and suffocating the insect. It also has a repellent effect on certain insects and mites. Neem oil prevents the germination and penetration of some fungal spores. In one study, researchers discovered that a one percent neem oil treatment was effective in managing powdery mildew on hydrangeas, lilacs and phlox.
In Summary, horticultural oils are an effective low toxicity alternative for managing pests when they are used properly with an understanding of their benefits and limitations. Read and follow all label precautions.
For pesticide information or other questions please call toll free: 877-486-6271.
Baxendale, R.W. and W.T. Johnson. 1988. An Evaluation of Dormant Oil Phylotoxicity on Six Species of Woody Ornamentals. J. of Arboriculture. 14(4): 102-105.
Baxendale, R.W. and W.T. Johnson. 1988a. Evaluation of Summer Oil Spray on Amenity Plants. J. of Arboriculture. 14(9): 220-225.
Baxendale, R.W. and W.T. Johnson. 1989. Update Note Concerning Horticultural Oil Concentrations for Verdant Use. J. of Arboriculture. 15(2):51-52.
Chalker-Scott. L. 2008. Horticultural oils. www.MasterGardenerOnline.com
Cloyd, R. C. Galle, S. Keith, N. Kalscheur and K. Kepm. 2009. Effect of Commercially Available Plant-Derived Essential Oil Products on Arthropod Pests. J. Econ. Entomol. 102(4):1567-1579.
Cranshaw, W. S., and B. Baxendale, 2013. Insect Control: Horticultural Oils. Fact Sheet No. 5.569 Colorado State University Extension. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05569.pdf
Gill, S. and W. Healy. 1990. Spray Oils May be Your Best Defense in an IPM Program. GrowerTalks. 53 (11):68-69.
Johnson, W.T. 1985. Horticultural Oils. J. of Environmental Horticulture. 3(4): 188-191.
Johnson, W. T. 1991. Rediscovering Horticultural Oils. American Nurseryman. 173 (1): 77-80.
Lancaster, A.l., D. Deyton, C. Sams, J. Cummins, C. Pless and D. Fare. 2002. Soybean oil controls two-spotted spider mites on burning bush. J. Environ. Hort. 20(2):86-92.
Locke, J. 1994. Neem Oil Locks out Spores. Agricultural Research. June 1994.
Pundt, L. 2000. Neem Based Insecticides. UConn IPM fact sheet. http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents/raw2/Neem%20Based%20Insecticides/Neem%20Based%20Insecticides.php?aid=152
Revised by the UConn Home and Garden Education Center, 2016.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Dean of the College, Cooperative Extension System, University of Connecticut, Storrs. The Connecticut Cooperative Extension System is an equal opportunity employer and program provider. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, Stop Code 9410, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964.
Our yards and gardens are full of insects. Some of these insects cause damage to our plants, and we look for ways to control these annoying pests. But there are also beneficial insects in our yards that pollinate plants, devour undesirable insects or clean up debris from the garden. Unfortunately, using a broad-range insecticidal spray kills beneficial insects along with the targeted pests. Horticultural oils, or dormant oils (used when a plant is dormant in late winter, before “bud break”), provide us with a garden-friendly alternative to control undesirable insects while doing less damage to beneficial insects, people and the environment. These oils are available at local garden centers, and should be a part of any pest-management strategy.
A horticultural or dormant oil is an oil used to control a pest on plants. Most horticultural oils are refined petroleum products (mineral oils). The oils are put through a process of filtration, distillation and de-waxing to remove impurities that would cause plant injury. They are usually mixed with an emulsifying agent that allows the oil to mix with water, and are used at about a 2 percent dilution. Seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) are commonly used as a source of dormant or horticultural oils. Azadirachtin, a compound found in neem tree seeds, has proved useful as an insecticide.
Horticultural oils control flea beetles, aphids, scale, whiteflies and mites by suffocating them. The oils also kill insect eggs by penetrating the shells and interfering with natural processes. The oils have few residual (lasting) effects, and so their impact on beneficial or benign insects is minimal. Since oil sprays only work by contact (coating the target pest), a thorough spray application of a plant’s leaves, stems and branches is required. Be sure to spray both leaf tops and undersides, small cracks in the bark and bud unions. Like all pesticides, read and follow label directions for each individual product, paying special attention to recommended temperatures at time of application.
Timing is important. Actively growing insects or mites are more susceptible than dormant ones, so the best time to apply dormant oils is after insect dormancy ends in late winter or early spring when insects resume growth. Dormant oils will damage plants if used during the growing season. The term “dormant oil” refers to the time of application rather than to any characteristics of the oil. Summer oils are lighter and more refined, and can be applied to both actively growing and dormant plants. Do not apply summer oils when the temperature is above 90 degrees. Read the label. It’s important to note that in order to protect the blooms, camellia growers don’t spray their prized camellias with horticultural oils until their bloom period ends.
Master Gardener Kathryn Darwin was motivated to try dormant oils after reading Clemson Professor Bob Polomski’s Month by Month Gardening in the Carolinas, and has been using the product successfully for over ten years. She likes to use the oils because they are less toxic than many of the chemicals used to control the same insects during the growing season, because pollinators and most beneficial insects are in little danger of being harmed at the time that dormant oils are used, and because the oils are not very expensive. Kathryn says that she “has not had a problem with listed/controlled insects” since using the horticultural oil. She always follows label directions specific to the product being applied. She says that oil sprays may cause “burn spots” on some plant leaves, especially in full sun. Make sure the oil/water mixture in the sprayer stays agitated and do not use dormant oil on stressed plants, including those under drought stress.
Horticultural (either dormant or summer) oils should not be used on the following plants: maples (particularly Japanese and red maple), hickories and black walnut, cryptomeria, smoke tree, redbud, juniper, cedar, spruce and Douglas fir. Always follow label directions and safety guidelines when spraying dormant oils. Mineral oil may be listed as the primary ingredient in dormant or horticultural oils. Organic versions of these oils often list canola oil as the main ingredient. These are familiar as oils available in grocery stores and pharmacies; however, the oils you purchase from these locations are not recommended for use as horticultural sprays.
In addition to the application of horticultural or dormant oils, February is a good time to prepare your turf grass for spring. Soil temperatures are getting into the low 50s and that means it’s almost time to apply pre-emergence herbicides to prevent warm season weeds in turf grass. But before you apply the weed preventatives, you need to rake your turf grass. Pre-emergence herbicides work by creating a barrier that stops weed seeds from germinating, and you won’t want to disturb that barrier after an application of the herbicides. So now is the time to rake. This is also a good time for a soil test so that you’ll be ready to apply the necessary nutrients to your turf grass when it is actively growing in May or June.
The Aiken Master Gardeners will hold its lunch box lecture series at 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 17, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 2724 Whiskey Road. Jane Burkhalter, a local master gardener, will be the guest speaker. Her topic will be Roses to Love.
If you have questions about using dormant oils, caring for turf grass, or other garden topics, call the Aiken Master Gardeners at 803-649-6297 ext. 122; send an email to [email protected]; or visit us weekday mornings in the office at 1555 Richland Ave. E.
Pam Glogowski moved to Aiken in 2001 from Janesville, Wis., and has been an active Master Gardener volunteer since 2007.
D.I.Y. White Oil
JERRY COLEBY-WILLIAMS: White oil is one of the most effective organic pesticides and it’s easy and cheap to make your own using household ingredients. To make it use two cups of sunflower oil. One cup of detergent dishwashing detergent.
This is concentrated white oil. Just mix it up like that. Now don’t forget to label the bottle.
One tablespoon full of concentrate you add that to one litre of water. Give it a good shake. And again make sure the bottle is marked pesticides. And it’s ready for use.
You use white oil to control sap-sucking pests – things like mealybug aphid and scale. You apply it on woody plants – things like trees shrubs palms bamboo and cycads. You apply it when it’s nice and calm and overcast. Never apply white oil when the temperature is 30 degrees or more. And to apply it – once every three weeks – cover both sides of the leaves cover all the stems right the way down to the base of the trunk.
Remember this is a suffocant – not a poison, so pests will never evolve a resistance to white oil. It’s a great organic remedy.
Yates White Oil Insecticide
What you need to know before purchasing
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