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A forum for growing fruits and rare tropical and temperate fruits, and tending our orchards

Neem Oil for Soil Pests

Postby George » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:23 pm

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Been searching for a solution to a problem in my garden.
Had planted a Fig which grew well one season but never really thrived. After the first season it struggled to survive and I ended up pulling it out. It was infected with Root Knot Nematode.
I mixed a bunch of organic material into the area where the fig had been planted let it sit for about six months then covered the entire area with weed cloth and then about six inches of eucalyptus chips. It sat this way for about another six months.
Into the hole went a Pakistani White Mulberry tree which is now exhibiting signs of root knot nematode. Yellowing leaves, no vigor, no growth, kinda wilted but almost good looking in the mornings.
I want to try Neem but cannot find the cakes, only the oil.
Has anyone had experience with Neem Oil and Nematodes?
What else might work with these little pests?
I am almost willing to go toxic on this problem.
George

Re: Neem Oil for Soil Pests

Postby Axel » Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:12 pm

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Unfortunately, there is no remedy for nematodes other than using nematode resistant strains and to lay the soil fallow for a season or two. Adding neem oil or any other potentially toxic ingredient to the soil will just kill the soil, in which case nothing will grow in it anyway.

Your best bet is to remove the trees, cover the soil with black plastic and bake it for a couple of seasons. Then add tonns of organic matter, as the nematodes thrive primarily in sandy soil.

Now I have heard of friendly nematodes that will take over when added to the soil. I don't know where to get them, I came across these a long time ago.

Re: Neem Oil for Soil Pests

Postby So_Cal_Mike » Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:50 am

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Axel wrote:Now I have heard of friendly nematodes that will take over when added to the soil. I don't know where to get them, I came across these a long time ago.


Info - Integrated Pest Management - University of Connecticut

Info - Dirt Doctor

Arbico-Organics

Rincon
Sunset Zone: 21 • USDA Zone: 10a • AHS Heat Zone: 6-7

Re: Neem Oil for Soil Pests

Postby Axel » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:01 am

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Thanks, Mike, I knew they were available somewhere.

Re: Neem Oil for Soil Pests

Postby George » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:49 am

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Thanks for the links.
It does not appear that these products target root-knot specifically. The dirt doctor site had some good tips on reducing the infestation and balancing the soil.
According to one site I visited these nematodes are responsible for an approximated 5% loss of productivity globally.
The area had been fallow for more than a year but despite lack of surface activity there are roots passing through from a begrudgingly tolerated Kajeput and in the other direction a much hated Carrotwood tree. I guess even these small and deep roots sustained the nematodes during the "fallow" period.
The more I read the more I feel that Neem is not a good solution. My plan is to try a sugar water solution as a temporary soil boost for the root ball itself then dig around the existing root ball and boost the organics even more than they are now, perhaps adding orange peels as suggested by Dirt Doctor.

Re: Neem Oil for Soil Pests

Postby So_Cal_Mike » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:47 pm

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 According to the Rincon site they do target root knot nematode. (Steinernema feltiae)

...another interesting thing is that they say (Steinernema carpocapse) targets leafminer. I wonder if it would work with Citrus leafminer.

Image
Sunset Zone: 21 • USDA Zone: 10a • AHS Heat Zone: 6-7

Re: Neem Oil for Soil Pests

Postby George » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:58 am

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Thanks Mike
I guess I skimmed through too quickly. Thanks for the pointer. So, new strategy...rework the soil around the root-ball with added organics, let it settle for a week or so then add the Steinernema carpocapse.
George

Re: Neem Oil for Soil Pests

Postby George » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:00 am

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Correction....Steinernema feltiae.
George


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