Using Neem in your garden & elsewhere (Wally Richards)

Azadirachta indica, commonly known as Neem, nimtree or Indian lilac, is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae.

It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, and is native to the Indian subcontinent and most of the countries in Africa. It is typically grown in tropical and semi-tropical regions.

Each year the tree flowers and produces fruit or kernels which are the seeds of the tree.

These are harvested and cold pressed to extract the Neem Oil which is used for many things including as an insecticide and for medical uses.

If the kernels are press only once then the Neem Cake will be dark in colour and have a good Neem smell.

If they are cold pressed more than once to extract more oil then they will be light brown in colour and not have much smell which means they will not any where near effective as the dark Neem Granules/Powder;.

The crushed residue is called Neem Cake in India which my company Garden Enterprises import in container loads into NZ for gardeners to use.

Before it is shipped the Neem cake is dried then screened to obtain to particle sizes which we call Wallys Neem Tree Powder being uniform particles 1-3mm in size.

Then there are the larger particles we call Wallys Neem Tree Granules which vary from 1mm to about 50mm in size.

Both are the same thing it is just the size of the particles that determine what we call them.

Likewise either can be used to do most gardening tasks that Neem Cake can be used for but each has its special tasks for applications.

Firstly lets talk about Neem Tree Powder, lovely to work with, easy to handle and far better to use for some applications than the Neem Tree Granules.

For instance when planting seeds or seedlings a little of the powder can be sprinkled with the seeds or put into a seedling’s planting hole.

It is a must to prevent carrot fly damage; you sprinkle the powder along the furrow with the seeds at sowing time.

Later when the carrots have germinated and have tops of foliage about 3-4cm tall you then side dress the row with the powder.

By doing this most gardeners have found little or no damage to the carrots at harvest time.

The Neem Tree Powder is ideal for treating grass grubs in lawns if used when the grubs are near the soil surface. For most that would be in the autumn after the autumn rains have moistened up the soil.

By cutting out squares of turf and examining the clods will let you see if there are grubs near the surface, if so then treat those areas where there are several grubs per square foot.

Sprinkle the Neem Tree Powder over a freshly mowed lawn and water in to settle the powder onto the soil.

If you have a roller then roll to press the powder into the moist soil.

If not then either lift the height of your rotary mower by a notch or two before you mow again or leave the catcher off so that powder picked up while mowing will be put back onto the lawn. Only applicable for two or three mowings after application of the Neem Powder.

Where you apply the powder on the lawn you may notice after a couple of weeks that those areas are looking better than where it was not used.

This is a good indication that you have root nematodes in the roots of your grasses and they are sucking the vigor out of your lawn. So if this is the case then you know to treat the rest of your lawn.

Neem Tree Powder is also ideal to place a small sprinkling on top of the growing medium of your container plants to eradicate root mealy bugs in the roots. Out side containers it does not matter so much as the powder will get molds when it breaks down which is normal; but indoors it will look unsightly so cover the powder with a little more growing medium.

Wallys Neem Tree Granules being bigger in size means they will last much longer slowly breaking down.

This makes them great to use on the soil of more established plants such as trees, shrubs and roses.

I have had a few gardeners tell me they used them in the root zone of their roses and significantly reduced problems of pests and diseases.

We have found them magic placed on the soil under citrus trees from the trunk to the drip line..

Within a period of about 6-8 weeks all insect pests on or in the tree are gone including whitefly, scale borer and mealy bugs.

At the beginning of the season when you plant up your glasshouse with tomatoes and other plants put some Neem Tree Powder in the planting holes and Neem Tree Granules on top of the growing medium (soil or containers) Many reports have said that in its self has solved most of their problems with whitefly in the glasshouse.

The reason I believe is that the smell of the granules disguises the smell of the plants and hence insects pests flying by don’t know that there are host plants nearby.

Disguising the smell of plants so that insects do not know that they are there is a great easy control.

It is the first line of defense against codlin and guava moth damage. You hide the tree when its fruiting.

The time to use the granules is after the fruit has formed on the tree and is about halfway to maturity.

Sprinkle the Neem Tree Granules under the tree from trunk to drip line.

Next make up some small bags using old curtain netting which you will place some granules in and the hang in the tree about your height. Hang around the tree 4 to 6 bags.

When the moths are flying at night looking for where to lay their eggs from the smell of the fruit they will fly on by as can not smell the fruit because of the Neem Granule’s smell that overrides the fruit smell.

Simple and very effective in greatly reducing the damage to your crop.

In regards to using Neem Tree Granules on the soil under plants you are likely to find they work better on some types if plants than on others.

I found on brassica such as cabbage that powder in the planting hole and granules on the soil meant that caterpillars never got established or caused much damage.

A few months ago a lady gardener from India told me that she soaks Neem Tree Granules in a bucket of water (about a cup full) for a couple of weeks stirring occasionally.

Then she takes the water and sprays or pours over her roses late in the afternoon.

According to her it keeps the pests and diseases under control.

Wallys Neem Tree Powder and Granules are great gardening aids and available in sizes in 1 kilo, 3 kilo and 20 kilo bags.

Problems ring me at 0800 466464
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Image by Alexei from Pixabay


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