Welcome! Log In Create A New Account


Neem Pure - Definitive Guide to Mixing

Posted by Mike Biltonen 
Neem Pure - Definitive Guide to Mixing
April 02, 2019 12:25PM
I'm searching for the definitive guide to mixing pure neem oil. There has been a lot of discussion around things like water hardness, pH, temperature, emulsifier, etc. over the years, not all seems to be relevant to successfully mixing pure neem for application with an airblast sprayer. I'd love to hear from folks who have tried and failed and others who feel like they have it all figured out (and anyone else in between). This is an important topic as the season is just about to get started so anyone (and everyone) can avoid problems.

Here is the approach I have used more/less successfully over the years:

1. Warm pure neem to > 60F so it thaws thoroughly prior to any mixing activities.
2. Using a paint stirrer (on a drill for easier mixing), mix 1 oz pure neem + 0.5 teaspoons of organic dish soap or soap nuts (or other emulsifier) for every gallon of water you will be mixing into. E,g., i) 1% neem solution = 1 gal neem per 100 gallons of fresh water. ii) 1 gal neem = 128 fl oz. iii) Emulsifier needed = 128 x 0.5 teaspoons/ounce neem = 64 teaspoons = 10 ounces emulsifier. iv) A 2% solution would be twice these rates.
3. So, 1 gal neem + 10 oz emulsifier, mix thoroughly - add slowly to 100 gal fresh water in spray tank WITH agitation.
4. If the water is cold, use a little warm water (DO NOT USE HOT WATER - it can destroy the properties of the oils) to thoroughly emulsify the oil and then add the remaining water and agitate well. Make sure the oil is completely emulsified before spraying.
5. If there is oil floating on top add more soap or emulsifier as needed.
6. Spray as you would any prepared materials.

CAVEAT - If you have hard water, I would add something to soften the water (not salt) like Choice or an acidifier like citric acid. I know there has been some debate over the need to use a water softener and this is one of my primary reasons for this post. However, knowing what i know about how clingy hard water can be, it seems you'll get better mixing if you can reduce the hardness of your water below 75ppm, and even better lowering it below 50ppm for truly soft water.

I don't claim this is the definitive guide, though it is what's basically posted in Ahimsa Organics web site and that many of us have used in the past. I am very interested to learn (as would others, I'm sure) what successes and failures other have found in their experiences with Neem.
Thanks to Ahimsa Organics for some of the basic recipes and caveats embedded in this post.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: Neem Pure - Definitive Guide to Mixing
April 02, 2019 02:18PM
You forgot the dance. Growers absolutely must do the 'neem dance' while mixing to perfect the emulsification.

Pure humor to go with pure neem!. I love the idea of a consolidation post, Mike, to bring a range of complications and solutions to the fore.

My two suggestions would be:
    -- Provide the math for a 0.5% concentration as that's the rate for general foliar application. This requires 1/2 gallon of seed oil per 100, to which I add an overflowing quarter cup (16 teaspoons) of biodegradable liquid dish soap.
    -- Use two parts neem oil to one part karanja oil (70/30) for synergistic advantage, ease of mixing, and cost savings

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Neem Pure - Definitive Guide to Mixing
April 02, 2019 11:23PM
How about doing that in metric???
You are playing with ounces, gallons, teaspoons. And Michael even adds cups. Really, one has to be pretty good in maths to follow this.

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
Re: Neem Pure - Definitive Guide to Mixing
April 12, 2019 08:54AM
I trust your math. I've read your book. Besides those of us south of the border rejected the metric rationale a long time ago. we look our irrational ounces, Fahrenheits, and inches.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: Neem Pure - Definitive Guide to Mixing
April 12, 2019 09:00AM
So, after trying to more deeply understand mixing and using neem, and after a small-scale disaster, I have the following questions in a follow-up to my original post and Michael's neem dance suggestion: There aren’t any specific parameters available (that I am aware of) that talk about

i) optimal temperatures - Usha recommends something in the 105F range, but no hotter and certainly not luke warm. Thoughts? At what temp does neem breakdown, karanja?
ii) optimal pH - influences and is influenced by pH. 6.5? 6? More....
iii) optimal water hardness - 100, 75, 50 ppm?
iv) optimal emulsifier rates - this seems to be a bit sorted out, but I am sure depends on the other water characteristics and the eumulsifier
v) optimal (if any) rates of fish oil or karanja. Michael has answered the karanja question, but what about fish oil?

Any details or personal experiences people can provide are greatly appreciated.


Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: Neem Pure - Definitive Guide to Mixing
April 14, 2019 11:28PM
I second Claude's request for a metric dance, I mean, version of the mixture. I work in liters and kilos and all the many variations thereon and it drives me near crazy to hear (mostly former brewer types I think) talk of barrels as a unit of volume. I understand that is 31 gallons in modern parlance, about 117 liters, but because I age some of my cider in used wine barrels I always have to pause my discussion and brain when someone mentions barrels to think about the context--wine barrels come in different sizes depending on the alcohol inside--anywhere from 225 liters to 300 liters.

Beyond that, thanks for these ideas, in whatever formula you provide them--super useful.

Bitter Acres, Golden CO, Zone 6a (2018)
Golden Gate Canyon, CO, Zone 5b (2018)
XK Bar Ejido, Crawford, CO Zone 6a (homestead orchard)
Up A Tree, Lewis, CO, Zone 6a (2017)
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login