How to Use Neem Oil in Marijuana Growing
Neem oil is one of those basic products that should not be missing in your grow staff
If you are one of those who wants to grow their marijuana plants in the most natural way possible, neem oil is one of those basic products that should not be missing in your grow staff. Today we talk about Neem Oil origin, properties and uses to finish our post with the most common pests and other curiosities about this product. A product which is extracted from the tree that gives its name to the oil, the indian tree Neem.
Yes, I know. I’m sure you’ve heard many times about Neem oil, otherwise, probably you wouldn’t have stopped to read this post in our PEV Grow Blog. But I am also convinced that, although you know some things about Neem Oil, maybe you need to look into the last hints about Neem Oil applications, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this post. I’m not mistaken, right?
A brief introduction
Of course, I am not trying to make this article into an encyclopedia or the great guide about Neem oil, but I would like to seize the following lines to share with you all things or at least many subjects that, over the years, I have been learning about Neem oil and also all the benefits its use brings us in the crops and, in particular, marijuana crop, which now is the most important to you and me, isn’t it?
Would you like to accompany me? I will love finally you do and I will like much more, that at the end of the text you can tell me, not only what you think, but also if you have something else to add or to correct, because it is clear that there are always concepts falling out of my hands and I would be glad to know them from your own hand, ans also you may have some doubts not answered yet regarding Oil Neem uses.Shall we begin then? Let’s go with the basics.
What is Neem Oil? Origin and properties
This oil, which is widely heard of, especially among those who are in favor of growing their plants in an organic way, owes its name to the tree from which it is extracted, in particular, from the Neem tree native of India, although today is grown in other countries with similar climates, ie tropical and subtropical.
In this regard, there are numerous countries in south America wherein we will find this tree, in fact, is also known on the other side of the Atlantic as Margosa or Lila India. Burma, in addition to India, as we said before, is another region in the world wherein you can see grow this type of tree that usually reaches 15 or 20 meters in height, although rarely can reach 35-40 meters .
When tree Neem blooms, their flowers are white beautiful colored and their fruit are slightly elongated as olive fruits, but somewhat longer (they can reach 28 mm long and 15 inches wide). Their color is yellowish and their flavor is a bit sweet, but it is not very pleasant in the mouth, at least not when it is in its purest state. So if you were wondering what does Neem oil taste like, I think I’ve just gave you an answer.
And, now that we have more data about Neem oil tree, we need to know where it comes from, even though I’ve just given you a clue. Indeed, this natural product is obtained from the fruits and seeds of that tree. Its most common use occurs in agriculture, but it is not the only one. We will also find Neem oil in natural and ayurvedic medicine, as well as in cosmetics or other sectors as we will see later.
But how is Neem oil extracted? There are two ways to do it mainly:
–Pressing and grinding the seeds and leaves of this tree, a process that can be made cold or hot. It is said that this is the most effective method for the oil to retain all its properties, especially if it is made hot. This would be the purest oil you can obtain, loaded with the majority of active principles of interest to us.
-By solvent extraction (industrial organic solvents, even though you can use non toxic solvets such as ethanol) from seeds and fruits. In case of using toxic organic solvents, you can diminish the quality of this method compared to we have mentioned before and its use is normally restricted to soap production.
The raw and clean extraction leaves us a by-product that is known as Neem powder. At PevGrow, in fact, we have this product in powder form and its use is ideal for: organic farming as a basis of preventive control of insects proliferation responsible of pests in the cannabis crop. In addition, this product does not leave waste in treated crops, so its use is very safe.
Neem powder ECO
Returning to pure Neem oil, one of the ways to identify it is by its brown color on the one hand (the tonality can vary between the one that comes closer to yellow or orange and the one that has darker shades) and its strong aroma , on the other hand. In fact, experts say it smells like peanut and garlic. Curious mixture, right?
Although it is true that it is used in the country of origin within traditional medicine remedies, there are several studies that do not recommend their intake, in fact it is not a product for human consumption, but a phytosanitary product because it contains elements (active principles) in the composition that participate in its biocide action, helping those active principles to increase their activity.
In any case, what interests us most now is its use for our marijuana crops, and do not worry about its taste, since it will not affect the taste and quality of your final harvest if Neem is used correctly , respecting the security deadlines.
Yes, Neem oil is ideal to take care of your crop, mainly because it helps us to prevent and treat many cannabis pests, acting as a natural repellent in case of the pest has not occurred and as a natural insecticide in case we have not been able to control it before.
But what is really good is that its use carried out correctly does not affect people or animals, so it can be used both in indoor and outdoor cannabis crops, avoiding, as we said, the appearance or propagation of pests, especially insects such as whitefly, aphid, mealybugs, caterpillars, leafminers, thrips or red spider, among others, as well as can prevent the appearance of certain types of fungus which attack cannabis like mildew, botrytis or alternaria. It is recommended to blend pure neem oil with either potassium soap or sodium bicarbonate to promote fungicidal action.
As I said before, Neem oil has been used for centuries, mainly in agriculture, but in its country of origin is also used in traditional medicine and Ayurveda. And, although there are not many studies on the characteristics of this oil, its main properties are known: it is rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9. In particular, it is associated with antiseptic, antiparasitic and anthelmintic properties. In the same way, it is known that one of the main properties of the fruit from which this oil is extracted is that it is purgative.
But in addition, and here we speak of more scientific terms, which we find very interesting if we want to understand the benefits of its uses in our marihuana crop, is that neem contains more than 50 tetranortriterpenoids, being the best known and active Azadirachtin, which exerts an emetic action (induces vomiting and inhibits feeding) in the invasive insect.
Thus, Neem oil, unlike other industrial insecticides, does not directly kill insects or invaders that try to invade our crop, but prevents the insects from feeding, reducing the chances of their reproduction, so that finally or die or disappear. This prevents the pest from spreading, without forgetting that if they are trying to reach our crop already treated with neem oil, the mere smell of this oil will repel them. And all this being a product 100% natural without risk to human health. What else would you expect from this natural product?
Today we talk about Neem Oil origin, properties and uses to finish our post with the most common pests and other curiosities about this product.
Organic Pesticides for Cannabis: Neem Oil
Neem oil is one of the most used organic pest control products out there because it can not only prevent but also eliminate a wide variety of bugs and pests while not affecting beneficial insects that are friendly to your plants.
This organic pesticide is used in almost all crops, not only cannabis and even though it doesn’t affect the bugs directly, it prevents them from feeding and laying eggs, forcing them to look for other plants to feed from.
1. What is Neem oil made from?
Neem oil comes from the Azadirachta indica tree, commonly found in India, South Asia, and introduced to lots of other subtropical and tropical countries for its importance in organic farming and medicine.
Not only is it used in plants, but Neem oil is also good for the skin in the treatment of several diseases, used as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, but remember you shouldn’t use it unless your doctor recommends it because there have been reports of Neem oil poisoning 1 in adults and children, so be careful.
When a Neem tree flowers they produce not only small white flowers but also a small green or yellowish fruit that resembles an olive, these fruits (and the seeds) are where Neem oil is extracted from.
By grinding and pressing the fruits and seeds, manufacturers can obtain the purest form of this oil, although it can also be extracted with solvents it will diminish the quality.
2. How to use Neem oil
Before using your preferred mix of Neem oil, you should always test it on one leaf and wait for 24 hrs to see how your plants react to it after you know it is safe to use it, you need a sprayer to completely coat your plant, including the branches and underside of the leaves so the bugs don’t have a spot to run away from it.
Here are a couple of recipes that aren’t too strong, you can always increase the amount of Neem oil you mix but these ones are quite light and won’t have a bad effect on your plant.
Neem oil alternatives
5ml of baking soda per 1L of water
500 ml of 70% alcohol with 500ml of water
Have in mind that Neem oil indeed can be used in the flowering stage but only on the stems and branches, but bugs will run away from it and hide where you haven’t applied Neem oil (the buds), so it is better you don’t use it.
Also, plants absorb neem oil and it stays in their vascular system and can alter the taste and flavor of your buds, so it’s better to use the alternatives given in the table above before applying Neem oil.
3. How and when to apply Neem oil
Neem oil can be used as a foliar spray and used as a drench to water the soil in any stage of cannabis’ plant growth (although it is not recommended on the flowering stage), it has shown to be more effective as a foliar spray but will depend on what you’re using it for.
If your plants are suffering from fungus gnats larvae or other bugs that live in the soil, you can use it as a drench, Neem oil will last up to 22 days in the soil but only 45 minutes when mixed with water to be used as a foliar spray.
So depending on what you’re using it for, you will have to repeat the process a couple of times.
Neem oil against bugs
A Neem oil insecticide is super effective against more than 200 kinds of bugs including Aphids , Mealybugs, and Whiteflies .
So, how does Neem oil work ?
Despite not killing bugs automatically, this organic pesticide can prevent insects from feeding, larvae from maturing, reduces mating, and can also coat the bugs, preventing them from breathing.
Depending on your case (if you’re preventing or controlling a pest) and the percentage of Neem oil present in the product you’re using you should dilute it in water, for example, a product that contains 70% Neem oil should be mixed at a ratio of 7ml per liter of water and used as a drench or sprayed throughout all the plant, including the underside of the leaves.
If you’re using it as prevention, you should use it once a week or even once every two weeks but if you’re trying to control and eliminate bugs already present it should be used once every 5-7 days.
Neem oil as a fungicide
There are several ways of dealing with fungi, and Neem oil is one of them.
A Neem oil fungicide can be used to treat Root rot and Powdery mildew but will depend on the stage your plant is in, if your plant is in the vegetative stage you’ll be fine but if it’s in the flowering stage you should avoid using it.
Is neem oil safe for flowering plants?
Even though Neem oil is safe for flowering plants, it will alter the taste and aroma of the flowers.
Neem oil has a really strong and unpleasant smell and taste, it is not recommended to use it either as a foliar spray or in the soil in the flowering stage because neem oil is absorbed by your plant and it will stay in the vascular system for a while.
If you need to treat fungus or bugs in the flowering stage you’ll be better off using alternatives such as mixing alcohol or baking soda with water.
Is neem oil safe for humans?
Since Neem oil is very potent, it is not 100% safe for humans and animals. Ingesting as little as 20ml can cause vomiting and convulsions. Even though it may seem a bit crazy to drink Neem oil, there have been lots of cases of Neem oil toxicity and it can also affect liver and fertility.
It is advised children and pregnant women stay away not only from Neem oil but from all Neem products in general.
In some parts of Europe (like the UK) the sale of Neem oil is controlled and regulated , so even though it’s organic and considered safe, you should always avoid touching your face when dealing with Neem products.
4. When not to use Neem oil
You should not use Neem oil on plants that have suffered from overwatering , overfeeding, or nutrient deficiency stress recently, even though you can if you need to control a pest fast, it’s better to wait until your plant completely recovers before applying it.
Also, you should not spray neem oil with the lights on (if you’re growing indoors), plants in direct sunlight outdoors or in extreme cold or hot should not be sprayed with neem oil because it can burn the leaves, branches, and stem, you should apply it at night or when the sun sets, and when the temperature is around 20 o C to avoid having problems.
5. In Conclusion
Neem oil is a great way to get rid of pests organically, but make sure you don’t use it in the flowering stage because it will affect the smell and flavor of the buds and leave them with an unpleasant harsh smell.
There are alternatives to Neem oil use in the flowering stage if you want to keep your harvest safe. If you’ve had a good (or bad) experience with Neem oil or have other homemade recipes please leave us a comment below!
1. US National Library Of Medicine National Institutes Of health
Neem oil is a natural product used to prevent and eliminate pests, being widely used on all types of plants including cannabis because it's organic.