Neem oil damage :(

illidanx(Z6_OK)January 20, 2013

The story is like this. My little lime tree that I started from seed 6 months ago was damaged by spider mites. Water spray did not keep the mites from coming back. So I followed advices on forums and sprayed the tree with neem oil. The spider mites were killed but my tree suffered from sun burn. The top of the tree died :(. The tree is kinda small now so I'm quite worried. Do you guys think the tree will be able to grow new shoot and recover from this? Thank you.

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

It will recover. What happened did you use the neem and put it straight in the sun?

Mike

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 8:32AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Sure...

Also, what was your mixture? How much Neem did you use?
I have never heard of this unless the mix is too strong or used in bright direct sun.
You should be using it early in the a.m and late in the day.
If you have used too much oil, it will coat the leaves too thickly and burn anyway.

Why don't you give your leaves a good rinse off with warm water after about 20 minutes or so after using Neem.

Mike

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 9:22AM
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illidanx(Z6_OK)

I got the concentrated neem oil from lowe's. Their instruction is 2-3 teaspoon per gallon. But I did not need 1 gallon of diluted oil so I just mix it based on my own perception. I did not know how to use neem oil. Here is what I did:

Every day I sprayed the whole tree about 3 or 4 times. The tree is at a south-facing windows but I did not care about the sun. I did not rinse the tree with water after spraying with neem oil. I was just trying to get as much oil on the tree as possible to kill off those mites :(

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:44PM
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johnmerr(11)

Are you sure this is a lime? The leaves look more like orange. I don't know of any true lemon/lime that has a leaf with a winged petiole, except for the Kaffir, which is not really a lime at all (Citrus hystrix?)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 2:09PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

That's it...

Why are you spraying every day 2 or 3 times? That's over kill and it's no wonder your leaves burned. I wouldn't be surprise if they fall off because they are so smothered with oil that the leaves can't breath.
Your tree does look overly coated.

Too, not caring about the hot sun in your window is not a good thing too. I guess not only will you kill those bugs, but your plant too.

Mites are suppose to die after a 3 week period spraying a light dose once every three days.

Don't be surprised if after all that you still see mites if any leaves hold on.

Good luck next time. Reading the instructions may help:-)

MIke

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 3:12PM
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mandarin1

I've used Neem at 1 teaspoon per quart, every 3-4 days for mites, keeping the plant out of direct sun for 18 hours. It works to a point. Normally you don't wash the Neem off, it's just that if your leaves are coated with a lot of Neem right now, you really should consider Mike's suggestion. Your tree should be OK.

A new approach I borrowed from another forum recently seems a bit more effective: 1quart of water (as you know, the water has to be warm enough so the neem doesn't become solid) 1/2 tsp. Rosemary essential oil, 1/2 tsp. Castile soap (but I have used PLAIN Dawn dishwashing liquid as well) and 1/2 tsp. neem oil. Shake often while spraying, keep out of direct sun for the day. Spray every 3-4 days for 3 weeks. So far, so good, they're not coming back...yet. Mites are pretty tough to beat. The rosemary supposedly also kills the mites, from my reading about it. But even if it didn't, it smells nice and makes the Neem's rotting onion smell a lot more pleasant.

By the way, when I found this recipe, it said to start by spraying every day for the first 4 days. But after day 2, my trees started loosing a few leaves, too, even though they were getting only indirect light. So I stopped spraying daily, and it's fine.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 4:27PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

It's important to remember that, with pesticides of any kind (including organic), more and more often is NOT better.

When mixing your neem (or other product) to a lesser amount of water than what the label reads, it's important to take the time to do the math so that the dilution rate stays the same.

It's very easy to cause damage to plants by not using a product correctly.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 4:33PM
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illidanx(Z6_OK)

@Johnmerr:
it's started from key lime seeds i bought at walmart. So I guess it should be lime too.

@ meyermike_1micha:
the liquid drop you see on the leaves is the water that I used to try to wash the oil off. But the leaves do look really oily though.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 5:16PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Plants don't actually breathe like humans, however they do go through a similar process called respiration. The small holes under a plant's leaves called a stomata lets oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out.

So that is why I would wash them leaves off if you have used too much oil in order to allow my plant to breathe.
That is why you must follow the directions closely as Dori say's. It is better to use little than more.

That is why you are suppose to give a few days between each spray of oils. In my case, when I feel I have sprayed to often, then I wash the leaves off after 20 minutes because by then you will have suffocated any pest and re-opened the stomata.

Mike

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Mon, Jan 21, 13 at 18:38

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 6:29PM
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illidanx(Z6_OK)

Just an update here. My lime tree finally grows 2 new shots at the top. Look like everything is back to normal now :D

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:19PM
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mandarin1

So glad to hear this good news! Your little tree is lookin' good, keep up the good work! And keep checking in, there's so much great info here!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:28PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Yes, I agree with Mandarin1...Good to hear!

Just make sure the next time you use Neem, it's a very very weak solution.

Mike:-)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:38PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Yes, I agree with Mandarin1...Good to hear!

Just make sure the next time you use Neem, it's a very very weak solution.

Mike:-)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:40PM
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