death by neem oil?

emachado19August 4, 2014

Ok so early friday morning I decided I'm going to spray some neem on my plants before heading away for the long weekend. I live in miami and it rained everyday that I was gone. Well, anyways I used the 70% neem oil concentrate and used about a teaspoon in a half gallon of water. I sprayed my avocado tree, an unknown citrus tree, navel orange tree, a valencia orange tree, and a eureka lemon tree which are all at least 4 feet high.

I also sprayed some of my smaller citrus tree. 2 persian lime trees and 2 key lime trees. Acalamando tree which is small was full of leaves and probably 50 fruits growing on it at all different stages. A meyer lemon and key lime tree (are potted together from the nursury) that were both fruiting and had recent new growth on them.
I neemed the plants at 730 AM on friday and when i got back sunday afternoon i noticed a bunch of citrus leaves around the pots.

The Meyer lemon and key lime new growth leaves have turned a darker yellow and are falling at a rapid rate. Some remain green but its scary to see how the slightest touch will make the leaves drop. The calamondin tree is also dropping leaves but holding on to all its fruit. The leaves on the calamondin are still darker green but splotchy yellow marks are on them. The avocado tree also has some burnt leaves and has dropped some leaves but not like the citrus.

So to wrap it up I am assuming I burned my plants with neem oil and now the leaves are falling off? The leaves will fall to the slightest touch yet do not appear burnt just more yellow or green with yellow blotches. When the leaves fall they leave the stem attached the branch.

Thankfully most of the other plants are doing just fine but the ones affected are worrying me. I'm pissed at myself for being the cause of death of the plants i been able to grow healthy up until now..

does this sound like typical neem oil burn to you guys? it also rained a lot this weekend and keep reading these symptoms could be from over watering. I still think its the neem that did it cause of the miami humidity but the damage is pretty overwhelming with the leaves not displaying any burn marks.

Anyways sorry to rant just felt like posting on here as some of you may have gone through something similar. I want to stop my beautiful leaves from falling off and will do anything to reverse this but i fear doing nothing is exactly what will be needed. ;[

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dtunesgw

I've used Bayer's neem oil which is 70% concentrated oil, so I'll assume it's a similar type of product. Did you eyeball the amounts of oil and water? The reason I ask is because the dosage of neem I have 2-4 tablespoons per gallon. For a half gallon that would be 3-6 teaspoons, so that's not too much oil. Eye balling volume however is pretty hard to do so the amounts could be fairly off if you didn't measure.

I would think the problem is the heat/sun since it was applied at 7:30am. It must get pretty hot in FL early in the day. You might want to try spraying in the evening and hosing it off in the morning next time if the temps are really warm. I've done similar things in the past so don't beat your self up. I hope your trees pull through ok, I wouldn't give up hope. If anyone can help it'll be the other more experienced folks here.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:05PM
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emachado19

thanks dtunes and yes I did eye ball it. One of the reasons im beating myself up is cause i have applied numerous times before but just always at dusk or night time. I have used a different brand then the homedepot one though. It looks like anything yellow is coming off the tree and anything darker green is still holding.. the top branches were most effected thus the most coming off.... I don't think theyll be completely nude but hopefullly they will rebound soon enough.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:00PM
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serge94501

Any chance there was something residual in your sprayer?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:54AM
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JCitrus

I like to er on the side of caution with these things.

i normally start a new product by mixing about 1/4 dose, and only spray on a few branches. If not ill effect noticed, then I do a 1/4 Strengh aplication on entire tree. If no ill effect noticed, the next aplication a few weeks later will be 1/2 strength, again testing my brew on a few leafs 24 hours before aplication, proceeded by an entire tree aplication. The following aplication will depend on rainfall and product etc. Then I feel I have a good handle on the effects I bump it up to full strength or if good results are noticed, stay with a diluted version aplied more frequently. I do this because im a total noob and have been in your position, neem oil is strong stuff. I learned the hard way not to spray anything other than a weak soap/kelp mix in the Early am. during daylight I wont spray. Perhaps slowly introducing a new substance aviods shock in some way, but My luck has improved withthis method seems like a lot of trouble but my Granpa always tought me "meassure ALOT, cut once". I see my ritual as an adaptation of that mantra. Its easy to kill your plants with kindness that why this place is so great!! your trees will be FINE! good luck!!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 11:05AM
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JCitrus

When I say no ill effect noticed, I mean wait 48 hours or so to check leaf drop or yellowing. After getting a good handle or a routine and mix, I swear can see my plants thanking me within hours of aplication, they seem to glow in the patio lights.

If im certain it will rain, I will dose a bit heavier but not much. Good luck. Please do report back

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 11:09AM
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emachado19

thank you!, how long will you say the leaf drop could continue to? will leaves still fall a week after application or will the affected leaves drop within the first few days? my meyer lemon is full of green branches but quickly becoming naked.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 1:33PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Bullie, it's hard to know if this was a Neem chemical or physical burn. Photos would help. It is not recommended to use any hort oil if your temps are slated to go over 85 degrees. So, if that was the case for you, then it is very possible the tree sustained physical burn from the Neem. Post up some photos so we can better determine what might have happened. The tree should recover. I would try to rinse off the Neem as much as possible if your temps are over 85 degrees.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 5:03PM
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