If your plants have been affected by root rot, and you’re actively looking for safe, natural and affordable solutions to tackle it, you might have come across neem oil. But can neem oil treat root rot and actually save your plant?
Scroll down and read on to find out just that and more.
Can Neem Oil Treat Root Rot?
Root rot is a serious concern for many gardeners as it can quickly kill plants and makes it difficult to replant in the affected area. Thankfully, neem oil can be an excellent remedy that can help you tackle the condition.
In recent years, it has become increasingly popular as a natural insecticide and fungicide.
When applied to the roots of affected plants, neem oil can help kill the fungus that causes root rot, and also help prevent further fungal growth
Recommended Read: How Do You Fix Root Rot Without Replanting?
Can You Use Neem Oil For Root Rot?
Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide that has antifungal, antibacterial, and insecticidal properties. For root rot in specific, it works by interfering with the growth of fungi and bacteria that are responsible for the disease.
Neem oil can be applied directly to the infected roots or sprayed onto the foliage by use of foliar sprays. In either case, it needs to be used regularly in order to be effective against any fungal disease.
When using neem oil for root rot treatment, care should always be taken to protect beneficial insects in the soil, as neem oil is a broad-spectrum pesticide. It's best to use it sparingly and only when needed, and avoid getting it into places where you don't want it.
Does Neem Oil Help Root Rot?
Neem oil is actually an extremely potent insecticidal and antibacterial agent that is also often used commercially.
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When used in soil, it is capable of tackling root rot single handedly. That’s not all- it also gets absorbed by the roots, and gets delivered to the leaves and stems. That way, when a mealybug or any other insect decides to take a nice bite, they end up getting a mouthful of neem.
Another plus of using neem oil to treat root rot in your plants is the fact that unlike most other commercially available solutions, it is non-toxic to beneficial insects like butterflies and bees, and is safe to be used around pets as well, unless they don’t ingest it directly.
Can Neem Oil Harm Plant Roots?
When used correctly, neem oil doesn't harm the roots of plants.
That said, it is important to remember that any kind of pesticide can negatively affect plant growth if it is applied too heavily or used incorrectly.
To avoid root damage, it is always best to use only as much as necessary, and as frequently as required.
To be on the safer side, you can also test a small area before treating an entire plant. If you notice any burning or discoloration after spraying the leaves with neem oil, discontinue its use immediately and rinse off the remaining solution from the leaves and stems.
Can I Spray Neem Oil Directly on Roots?
There’s quite a bit of debate over whether using neem oil directly on plant roots is safe.
While neem oil is potent against a plethora of pests and fungi, some experts and gardening enthusiasts believe that it can be harmful to the plant’s health.
There’s still a bit of research needed to determine the efficacy and safety of using neem oil in this manner.
As good practice, always stick to using diluted neem oil near the roots of a plant, even if your plant has root rot. It should always be mixed with water and applied to leaves or stems away from the root zone when using it as a pest control measure.
What Plants Should I Avoid Using Neem Oil on?
While neem oil is incredibly useful for gardeners, it is a good idea to avoid using it specifically when it comes to treating edible crops, or any plants that may come in contact with food. This is simply because neem oil can cause an unpleasant taste and odor if it is applied to these crops.
Additionally, many edible plants are sensitive to the oils and may suffer from phytotoxic effects, such as discoloration, wilting or burning of leaves if exposed directly to the it.
Neem oil should also not be used on certain ornamental plants that are particularly susceptible to the chemicals found within neem oil. This includes plants like ferns, impatiens, begonias and African violets.
If you have a herb garden, you might want to avoid using neem oil on your oregano, parsley, caraway, basil, thyme, cilantro and dill plants.
Some plants with delicate and wispy leaves like lettuce, peas, spinach and arugula can also suffer burns if their foliage is exposed to a concentrated solution of neem oil.
Recommended Read: Can You Reuse Soil with Root Rot?
Which Fungicide is Best For Root Rot?
You’ll find a lot of fungicides for root rot available commercially- the most popular of them being Benomyl.
Benomyl is a systemic fungicide that can be applied to the soil or foliage of plants, and is effective against a wide range of fungal diseases, including root rot.
Another common fungicide for treating root rot is Mefenoxam. It is, again, a systemic fungicide that can be applied to the soil or the foliage, depending on what you’re planning to use it for.
In addition to fungicides, there are a few other methods of treating root rot. You can consider using beneficial fungi, such as Trichoderma harzianum or Glomus intraradices. These fungi can be applied directly to the soil and act as natural antagonists against root-rotting fungi.
You can also consider introducing beneficial bacteria into the soil- Bacillus subtilis or Pseudomonas fluorescens are some good choices. These bacteria produce compounds that inhibit the growth of fungal pathogens and help protect plants from root rot.
And of course, implementing proper gardening techniques such as sticking to a watering schedule and focusing on soil and plant health can always be helpful in preventing root rot from happening in the first place.
How Do You Treat Severe Root Rot?
Root rot caused by fungi is a serious issue for many plants, and if left untreated it can end up killing them. Severe root rot requires immediate attention in order to prevent further damage to the plant.
The first step to treat severe root rot is to carefully remove the affected roots from the soil and rinse off any remaining dirt or debris. It is important to keep as much of the healthy roots intact as possible in order to save the plant.
If some of the healthy roots are damaged, they should be cut away with sterilized scissors or pruners. Once all of the diseased roots are removed, it’s time for treatment.
You can start treating the root rot with a fungicide. This should be applied to the remaining healthy roots and surrounding soil.
It is important to follow all label instructions when applying the fungicide, as different products may have varying instructions or precautions.
After application, the plant can be repotted in fresh potting soil. It is also important to ensure that the new pot is large enough for the plant to re-establish its root system.
Remember that your plant is likely to be in a delicate state after being affected by the root rot, and especially if you have repotted it. Ensure that it is well cared for in this stage, and give it all the TLC it needs to thrive and flourish.