What Is Neem Spray?

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  • Written By: Rebecca Mecomber
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2019
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Neem spray is an vaporized mist of neem oil and is commonly used as a biological pesticide and fungicide. Neem oil is extracted from the seed kernels of the neem tree. In spray form, neem extract is used as a powerful preventative insecticide and fungicide, but in cases of severely infested plants neem spray shows little effectiveness.

Neem is derived from the neem tree Azadirachta indica, an evergreen plant native to subtropical India where it has been used for centuries. Ancient Sanskrit documents tell of the ancient uses of neem as a soil amendment and therapeutic for sick livestock. Some of the benefits of neem include treatments for skin and fungal diseases, use as an antiseptic and therapeutic, and control of insect pests. It is also used as an ingredient in cosmetics, soaps and beauty aids.

The components of the spray are natural and biodegradable, but the product should be used with caution to avoid plant injury. It is best applied to plants during the growing season, taking careful consideration to covering all parts of the plant leaves and trunk base. The spray repels over 200 various garden pests including aphids, slugs, weevils, mealybugs, caterpillars, cucumber beetles, and other chewing insects. Neem spray pesticide is highly effective at controlling larval infestations, best applied after insect eggs have hatched but before they mature to adulthood. The chemical works best in warm weather and requires multiple applications to control infestations.


The chemical compound azadirachtin in neem pesticide spray inhibits insect reproduction and larval growth by lowering levels of the growth hormone ecdysome in insects. In some cases, neem spray immediately kills insects in the nymph stage. It does not kill adult insects but does interfere with mating and reproductive processes.

Neem spray is also an effective fungicide. The spray treats powdery mildew, a common plague of damp environments and conditions. It also treats certain plant diseases carried by aphids.

Despite its many beneficial uses, neem spray can sometimes do more harm than good. Some plants, such as the black walnut, maple and juniper, may suffer since they are very sensitive to botanical oil sprays. Neem spray should never be used on stressed, drought-stricken or severely diseased plants. Sulphur compounds react with neem and should therefore be used separately at least 30 days apart.

Neem is nontoxic in most applications. The oil extract has been used for thousands of years as an antibacterial agent in soaps and cosmetics. Neem tree twigs were even used toothbrushes. Laboratory tests with rats ingesting larger quantities of neem oil and leaves interfered with rat fertility and pregnancy. Therefore, caution is urged when used near pregnant women and children.


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Post 3

@ZipLine-- Yes, you can make your own spray. Mix the neem oil with lot of oil because if it's too strong, it might harm the plants instead of helping them. I do the same thing. I purchase a bottle of neem oil and dilute it with water as required. I pour it into a spray bottle.

Of course, this is not going to be enough for those who want to spray a large area or many trees. But it works just fine for a few plants.

Post 2

I'd lie to use neem for a few plants in my garden but it's a little too expensive for my budget. I've noticed that neem oil is cheaper. Can I buy and use the oil instead. I mean, neem spray is made from the oil anyway.

Post 1

I tried neem spray for the first time last month, for a lime tree that hasn't been doing so well lately. The leaves how browned and the lime were small and discolored. Neem spray has truly helped. It has only been a month, but I'm already seeing an improvement. The leaves are looking better. I think it had a pest problem, but I never noticed it. I plan on continuing with the neem treatment from now on for prevention.

I'm also happy that this is a natural pesticide and doesn't cause harm to the environment.

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