Gardening the safe way with horticultural oil
The insect world is so vast that it is mind-blowing. My mentor told me many years ago that for every human upon the planet there is about a million or more insect which means that the human population is far outnumbered, not to be afraid though because if there was ever an insect invasion we would have the upper hand.
The subject of this topic is so vast that it is beyond the scope of this article, however, we will be looking at two groups of insects that are present in our gardens. No matter the style, type or size of our gardens we can all agree that the presence of garden insects will always be seen. When it comes to garden insect they are divided into two groups the good bugs and the bad bugs.
The good bugs are known as the good guys or beneficial insects that police our gardens protecting our plants by feeding on the bad bugs, the bad bugs, on the other hand, are the ones that cause great destruction to our gardens by feeding on our plants. Have you ever planted a garden caring for it spending so much time watering, fertilizing, grooming and cleaning and then out of nowhere it catches your eyes as you are startled by these garden insect pest or uninvited guest feasting on your plants? This has been my experience on many occasions and to be honest with you which I know you will also agree with me that this was not a good experience.
Garden insect pest and methods used to control them
- Mechanical Control
- Biological Control
- Cultural Control
- Chemical Control
Mechanical Control is a safe approach in which tools such as garden pruners, lopper shears etc… are used to remove small! sections of plant parts which are affected by garden insect pests.
Biological Control is encouraging or releasing beneficial insects into your garden area to eliminate the bad bugs by feeding on them.
Cultural Control or Good Cultural Practice involves installing garden plants in the right area along with using the correct maintenance practices to minimize the onslaught of garden insect pests.
Way before our time garden insect pest have always invaded gardens and landscape areas, therefore many methods were sorted on how to bring these insect pests under control. Some of the chemicals that were formulated and used were not a safe approach to humans or animals even though these approaches proved to be effective on, these garden insect pest.
Then other pesticides were produced that was considered to be environmentally safe such as insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils. While I don’t want to prolong this article nor tire you we will jump right into horticultural oils.
How to use horticultural oil
The use of horticultural oils is another way to bring garden insect pest under control, while this may be good news both for you and your garden plants care should be taken when it comes to using these oils. Horticultural oils are effective against soft-bodied sucking insects such as mealybugs, scales, thrips, whiteflies, spider mites, aphids and so on but can also eliminate beneficial insect if they come in contact with these oils.
Before using horticultural oils or other garden products it is always best to carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s label because the label is the law. Following these instructions will give you greater success as you seek to win the war on these garden insect pests.
How do horticultural oils work
The system or organ through which an insect breathe is called the spiracles. When these oils are used what happens is that the spiracles are blocked causing the insects to suffocate because they can no longer breathe freely. These oils can also affect and insect ability to feed, when this happens the insect will starve to death.
The best time to apply horticultural oils
The best time to make applications is when garden insect pests are most active so they can come in contact with these oils. When applying dormant oils, spray before the flower opens. If the oils are sprayed on plants only and dry before insect pests make contact this will prove ineffective because as discussed earlier these oils must come in contact with the host insects. These sprays can also be considered as contact sprays. The term dormant oils refer to the time these oils are used which is the dormant seasons.
Summer oils are much lighter and can be used during the growing season but using these oils under high temperatures will cause the leaves to burn wait until it is cooler or when the temperature drops.
Some brands of horticultural oils
- Monterey horticultural oil
- Bonide all seasons horticultural and dormant oil spray
- Sunspray ultra-refine spray oil
Word of caution with these oils
1. As said earlier it is always best to read and follow the manufacturer’s label when applying horticultural oil sprays.
2. Applying horticultural oils during the winter time or when it is freezing is ineffective.
3. Do not apply when plants are wet.
4. Oils should not be applied to plants that are sensitive, read the label for plant use.
5. Horticultural oils should not be applied in the summer when temperatures are in the high 90s.
6. Horticultural oils should not be applied to plants that are stress from lack of water. Water stress plants thoroughly wait a day, once the plant has recovered you can begin treating for insects.
The final word
Horticultural oils are very effective and have proven to give good results once handled the right way. These oils can help you to win the war on garden insect pests, with the help of these oils you will be in full control as you come to your plant’s aid. I have mentioned these oils several times in some of my posts and thought it would be good to write an article on these oils going into more details, with this knowledge you can better understand how horticultural oils work and how to use them placing you in a better position to have garden success. Now that you know let’s go and win the war on these garden insect pests.