Neem oil is often used as an effective treatment for all kinds of garden pests. However, many plant enthusiasts do not know if it is safe to use on seedlings. When dealing with young plants, taking the necessary precautionary measures is important to ensure proper growth. Seedlings are susceptible to many diseases and pests, making it necessary to apply a natural solution to encourage their growth.
For example, mold and viruses can prevent your seedling from growing and kill it before it experiences any significant growth. You can also expect aphids and other garden bugs to attack your fresh seedlings to siphon some of the essential nutrients. Neem is safe to use if you want to promote fast growth in your pepper or tomato seedlings. It can easily destroy mold spores, kill garden insects, and eliminate any changes for your seedling developing damping off disease.
Let’s explore more details of using neem oil on seedlings.
How Safely Can You Use Neem Oil on Your Seedlings?
If you’ve noticed any problems with your seedlings, it is best to isolate the reason first before choosing the proper solution. For example, your seedling may experience a gnat or aphid infestation that hinders its growth, and it starts to progress rapidly. In that case, neem oil will provide the results you are looking for and effectively destroy any pests within a week. Plant diseases can also attack your seedlings, which is why it helps to use neem oil as an excellent remedy and solution.
However, it is worth noting that you must use the correct concentration of neem oil to produce the desired effects and apply it at the right time. This is because young seedlings can easily burn if you soak them with too much neem oil, especially during early morning hours.
This issue can be easily addressed by spraying neem oil in the late afternoon or early evening to avoid the sun’s direct rays, preventing sunburn. Also, depending on the severity of the issue, i.e., disease or infestation progression, you can use different application methods according to the scenario.
Let’s explore everything involved in adequately looking after your seedlings and diagnosing the exact problem in the first place.
The Complete Guide for Using Neem Oil on Seedlings
As we’ve discussed, seedlings are immature and must be handled delicately. Any pest infestations can quickly destroy them, making it necessary to monitor their growth. Let’s describe the course of action you must take when applying neem oil to your seedlings.
Find Out What’s Causing the Damage
With young seedlings, you are likely dealing with pest infestations or fungus-related diseases. Pay attention to any visible changes on or near your seedlings. For example, aphids can find their way on any plant; still, finding a few of them is usually not a serious sign. However, if you notice them swarming near your seedlings, you need to take decisive action immediately.
Similarly, any fungus growth near your seedlings’ roots is a sign of concern since these young plants have not yet developed a strong root system. Once you’ve identified the problem, you can follow through on the next steps.
Consider Your Seedlings’ Development
Depending on how much your seedling has developed and grown, you will need to apply an equal amount of neem oil solution. What does this mean? Generally speaking, the smaller your seedling, the lighter your sprays. It is not worth applying neem oil to your seedlings if they have not yet developed any leaves. You should look into alternative treatments or experiment with a couple of seedlings before applying neem oil to all of them.
Create the Perfect Concentration of Neem Oil
As we’ve discussed, seedlings are fragile and need to be treated delicately. You cannot get away with creating a strong concentration of neem oil solution since that will likely damage the seedlings. Online guidelines make it clear that you need to add one tablespoon of neem oil concentrate and a teaspoon of liquid soap to a gallon of water. However, you should dilute the concentration even more for seedlings and make a separate batch only for treating these young plants.
Use Neem Oil as a Sprayable Solution
One of two popular neem oil methods is creating a sprayable solution. You can buy a half-gallon-sized handheld garden sprayer to create your mixture and gently coat your seedlings with the ideal concentration of neem oil. You can simply halve or double the ratio described above and choose to dilute it even more since you’re dealing with immature plants.
Choosing organic liquid soap also helps because you don’t want to expose your seedlings to unnecessary chemicals that could hinder their growth in other ways. Once your solution is ready, you can apply your neem oil solution once a week on your seedlings for up to four weeks.
Any bugs or diseases will die within a week, and serious infestations will also disappear by the end of the fourth week. However, we recommend spraying your seedlings as a preventive measure since that will ward off any pests and diseases from appearing in the first place.
Water the Roots Near the Seedlings with Your Neem Oil Solution
The second strategy to prevent pests and diseases from progressing on your seedlings is to use your neem oil solution as a soil drench. If you notice any fungus growth, it is best to pour the diluted neem oil solution directly near the roots and wait for it to take effect. However, ensure you do not oversaturate the seedlings with the soil drench, as that can create other issues, especially if the liquid soap stops working as an emulsifier.
Check Every Day to Notice Improvements
As soon as you begin applying your neem oil solution to your seedlings, it is best to pay close attention to the changes and improvements. As a preventive measure, neem oil can prevent pests and diseases and ensure your seedlings stay healthy and resilient.
If you notice any diseases and infestations, you need to track the improvements daily to see if the neem oil is working. If it’s not producing the desired effects, you can coat your seedlings with it more often, such as every four days instead of a week. This aggressive treatment will usually disperse any issues and problems.
Neem oil effectively treats fungus-related growth, diseases, and pest infestations on seedlings and mature plants. However, when treating seedlings, you need to dilute the solution more than the recommended online concentrations since warm days can burn your young plant quickly.
There are two optimal strategies for effectively treating your seedlings, including using your neem oil solution as a spray and soil drench. If you’re opting for an aggressive treatment plan, you can coat your seedlings more often, i.e., every four days for up to four weeks. You may also combine both strategies for optimal results but be sure not to oversaturate your young seedlings with too much neem oil.