Pure Neem Oil?

shazaam(NC 7B)November 15, 2013

I'm currently reading Micheal Phillips' The Apple Grower, and his discussion of pure, cold-pressed neem oil (as opposed to products that contain processed neem derivatives) is interesting. For those who aren't familiar with the book, Phillips says that he was first introduced to pure neem oil by an orchard consultant who "spoke of neem's efficacy in Michigan orchards for plum curculio, codling moth, a wide range of leaf rollers and bud moths, and even apple maggot fly." He goes on to say that it also "provides a nutritional boost that in turn stimulates an immune response in the apple tree to fungal disease as well." Has anyone tried pure neem oil like the Ahimsa Organics Neem Oil that Phillips recommends? I'm rather skeptical of neem given past reading, and all Phillips has provided is second-hand anecdotal evidence for one particular growing region. Nonetheless, I can't help but be curious...

This post was edited by shazaam on Fri, Nov 15, 13 at 19:38

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Well if it doesn't work you can always use it for psoriasis and eczema.

Here is a link that might be useful: killer neem oil

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 8:44AM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Thanks for the suggestion, Drew, but I don't suffer from either. For anyone who's interested, I found an article on Phillips' website in which he discusses how he uses neem. I also came across a thread on dormant oil from last year in which scottsmith shares his experience with pure neem oil. I don't expect it to be a magic bullet, but I do wonder if it might be worth trying in concert with other sprays.

This post was edited by shazaam on Sat, Nov 16, 13 at 10:29

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 10:23AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Sorry for the off topic post, well kinda off topic.
I find the organics are getting better all the time, even some heavy hitters like Spinosad, It may be worth trying, but since regular oil seems better, and Neem isn't very effecive for some insects, I'm not sure it's worth using? As you say maybe in combination,possibly even with Spinosad. But Spinosad is toxic to bees, whereas say Serenade is not.
Serenade works on some fungal diseases for raspberries, so I'm considering it as a preventative. Although it is one of those all in one products. Insecticide, fungicide.
All above products are organic, but many systemic organics are frowned upon like Agri-Foss, so I give up on trying to offer suggestions to organo nuts. Sold by most organic sellers. It may not be considered strictly organic?
Agri-Fos was approved by the Biopesticide Division of E.P.A. as a biorational fungicide. It can be used for Apple Scab. Some don't like systemics, please don't tell these people that organic fertilizer is systemic. They might really freak!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 11:59AM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Thanks, Drew. I'm not familiar with Agri-Fos, so I'll look into it. I haven't used Serenade yet, but I'm likely to pick up a bottle to try out next year. I know that Scott has found it useful for some things in Maryland, and our locales likely have a lot in common. I don't expect miracles form any of these products (especially in my hot and humid climate), and I'm not opposed to synthetics either. Rather, I'm trying to gather as much info as I can about my options. As I've learned over the last five or six years of fruit growing, I'm either going to have to give up on a lot of fruits or find a spray program that's effective and with which I'm comfortable.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Shazaam, I'm not a big fan of neem for our climate. But I have never done the dozen sprays needed to really test how well neem can work -- I just don't have the time to do that. I think Michael can do better given his climate. I would be interested if you tried his program out in your climate to see how it would work.

The root issue with neem is it is weak compared to e.g. sulphur, which is itself weak compared to synthetics.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 6:39PM
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Hi, I used Neem oil my first two years of starting my orchard. I sprayed at least 6 times (within the proper timing and season) I gave up as I still had insect problems. I never knew I needed to spray 12 times. Too much work. I moved on to an excellent Hort. oil and I have used it for the past five years. It has worked very well. I also used Volck oil one year and it was very successful as well. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 8:20PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Thanks, Scott and MrsG. Given your experiences, I'm thinking that, if I do try neem, I'll treat it more as a nutritional/foliar feed type product and not rely on it for insect/disease control.

This post was edited by shazaam on Mon, Nov 18, 13 at 22:04

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 8:42PM
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