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Evaluation of indigenous botanical insecticides against whitefly of sweetpotato

February 25, 2011

Among the many species of whitefly that attack plants, the most predominant is the greenhouse whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporium Westwood, and the SP whitefly, Bemisia tabaci. At the Northern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (NOMIARC), whitefly became a major problem when potato was grown in the screenhouses since 2000. These insect pests hampered seed producton at NOMIARC because insecticides encouraged population build-up. With this scenario, Tatoy et al. (DA-NOMIARC) studied other alternative control measures against whitefly that were effective, environment-friendly, and had no adverse effects on health. These alternative control measures are the 13 botanical insecticides found in Region X such as tubli roots (Derris elliptica), wild sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia) leaves, madre de cacao or kakawate (Gliricidia sepium) leaves, makabuhay or panyawan (Tinospora crispa) vines, lagundi leaves, luyang dilaw or dulaw (Curcuma longa) rhizomes, neem (Azadiractha indica) seeds, tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum and N. rustica) leaves, eucalyptus leaves, hot pepper (Capsicum frutescens) leaves, adelfa leaves, and atis seeds.


  • Early incidence of whitefly caused severe damage that reduced the yield of potato.
  • Thirteen botanical insecticides found in Region X were evaluated against whitefly. Extracts of these plants sprayed at 5% concentration reduced the population of whitefly.
  • Extracts of tobacco leaves, hot pepper leaves, rhizomes of dulaw, and roots of tubli had fast-acting effects both in the laboratory and screenhouse.
  • Slow-acting poison was obtained from the extracts of neem leaves and seeds, madre de cacao leaves, vines of makabuhai, and wild sunflower leaves.
  • ROI of treatment using neem leaf extracts was 39.2%, while that of makabuhay vines was 36.4% and tobacco leaves, 28.2%.

Source: PCARRD, 2004. Highlights 2003, Los Baños, Laguna.


Pesticide developed from ‘madre de cacao’

February 25, 2011

By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) Updated September 18, 2008 12:00 AM


SAN FERNANDO, La Union — A Filipino chemist here has developed an environment-friendly pesticide using the leaves of madre de cacao, locally known as kakawati.

A study done by Alfredo Rabena, a full-time professor at the University of Northern Philippines in Vigan City, found that kakawati leaves are good source of coumarins, a toxic substance that can kill almost all types of pests and insects.

Rabena said one kilogram of kakawati leaves, soaked in water overnight, can produce seven gallons of “botanopesticides” (botanical pesticides).

“The more leaves the more concentrate the pesticide is,” he said.

Rabena said he conducted the study in 1996 in collaboration with a Malaysian chemist, Dr. Nordin Lajiz, at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna.

“The three-year study found botanopesticides as effective pest control,” he said, adding the technology is being used by rice and vegetable farmers in eight municipalities in Ilocos Sur.

Rabena said he wants to provide Filipino farmers an alternative to commercial pesticide to lessen the cost of production.

He said the kakawati plant is endemic to tropical countries such as the Philippines.

Tips to maximize foliar absorption of nutrients

February 20, 2011

Several techniques should be used when trying to maximize foliar absorption of nutrients.

  • Nutrients are generally only absorbed while still wet on the leaf.
  • This preferably means spraying during a cooler time of day, early in the morning, when humidity is up and leaves are wet with dew. Spraying in the middle of a hot day will give you reduced effectiveness in absorption.
  • The best time to foliar fertilize is between 7am and 9am, or after 5pm,  when the stomata  are open.
  • The optimum temperature is about 22° and if the temperature is 26° or above, the spray will be less effective.
  • Always mix the spray thoroughly and apply in as fine a mist as possible.
  • Try to coat both the upper and lower leaf surfaces where practical, as often the spray stays wet on the leaf longer and there are more stomata to facilitate absorption on the lower leaf surfaces of many plant varieties.
  • Take care to avoid leaf burning when spraying in direct sunlight.
  • The use of a quality wetting agent, will prevent formation of droplets on the leaves that act as prisms for the sunlight to focus on and burn. It will also maximize the amount  that will stick to the leaves and aids absorption.

How to Make Fish Emulsion Fertilizer

February 20, 2011

By blusher, eHow Member

Fish emulsion fertilizer is an amazing fertilizer that you can easily make at home. Fish fertilizer is one of the most powerful organic fertilizers that you can feed your plants. It is made from the remains of fish. It is a liquid fertilizer made from emulsifying fish byproducts and is considered an organic mixture since it is naturally derived.

Here’s how to make fish emulsion fertilizer at home:


Things You’ll Need:

  • 5 gallon bucket with lid
  • Blender
  • Fish
  • Molasses
  • Epsom salt
  • Dried leaves and grass
  • Water
  • 2 weeks

Buy a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. You can use a larger container if you want but you will need to adjust the proportions.

Add fresh fish parts to a blender with warm water and emulsify. Avoid using canned fish for the fertilizer since these tend to contain extra preservatives.

Fill the bottom of the fish fertilizer bucket with dried leaves, straw, dried grass, newspaper, and/or sawdust. These will help to control the smell and absorb extra nitrogen from the fish.

Add molasses (unsulfured or dry) to the fertilizer bucket as well. This will help to control the fish emulsion smell and also build up the microbes in order to speed up the process of decomposition.

Add fresh or dried seaweed to the container (optional).

Add 1-2 tablespoons of Epsom salt. This will add needed magnesium and sulfur.

Add the lid and stir the fish emulsion 1-2 times per day and let the concoction sit for at least 2 weeks.

Dilute the fish emulsion fertilizer to a 1:5 ratio and add to your plants.

Organic vs. Synthetic Fertilizers

February 20, 2011

The earth neither grows old or wears out if it is dunged. – Columella, circa 45 A.D.

Organic fertilizers differ from chemicals, in that, they feed your plants while building the soil’s structure. Soils with lots of organic material, remain loose and airy, are better able to hold moisture and nutrients, foster growth of soil organisms, including earthworms, and promote healthier root development (see Soil Fertility & Crop Nutrition). Building a healthy soil is the key to successful organic gardening.

Another advantage of organic fertilizers, is that they are made from plant and animal sources, or from rock powders. These materials need to be broken down by soil microbes in order for their nutrients to be released, and that takes time. Because organic fertilizer works slowly, it provides long-term nutrition and steady, rather than excessive growth.

On the other hand, chemical fertilizers work fast, which is a good thing, if that’s what you’re looking for. They can make a bad garden or lawn look good much quicker than most organics can. However, it’s my opinion that the nutrients are released too quickly, creating a great deal of top growth before the roots are able to catch up. This kind of growth often leads to weaker plants. Also, because they are so rich, synthetic chemicals can easily be over applied and “burn” roots or create toxic concentration of salts. Learn more about the adverse environmental effects of synthetic chemicals here.

Chemical fertilizers will not improve the structure of the soil. In fact, because they are composed of high concentrations of mineral salts, they are capable of killing off many of the soil organisms that are responsible for decomposition, and soil formation. If only chemicals are added, the soil gradually loses its organic matter and microbiotic activity. As this material is used up, the soil structure breaks down, becoming lifeless, compact and less able to hold water and nutrients. The result is pretty clear – you’ll have to use more and more fertilizer.

Dry vs. Liquid Fertilizer

Organic fertilizers fall into two categories: dry and liquid.

Dry fertilizers, such as rock phosphate and blood meal, are solid food for your soil microorganisms. They feed on it slowly and provide valuable nutrients to your plants throughout the entire growing season. Learn more about soil organisms here.

In most cases, dry fertilizers are broadcast directly over the top of your garden and are then hoed or raked into the top four to six inches of soil prior to planting. You can also add small amounts to planting holes as you sow seeds or transplant plants.

Another way to use dry fertilizers is to mix them along side plants during the growing season. This method is called side-dressing and works best if you can mix the fertilizer into the top inch or two of the soil (see Fertilizing The Garden). Unlike dry synthetic fertilizers, most organic fertilizers will not harm the delicate roots of the plants.

Liquid fertilizers are less concentrated than dry, and are to organic gardening, what PowerBars are to athletes — a light nutrient boost for maximum performance. Fish emulsion and kelp extract are two common kinds of liquid organic fertilizer.

The most common method of delivering liquid fertilizers to plants is through their roots – by watering or root drench. Foliar feeding, an alternate method, delivers nutrients through the foliage or leaves of plants (see Foliar Feeding of Plant Nutrients).

The advantages of foliar feeding are numerous:

• Up to five hundred times more effective than soil drenching.
• Nutrients are taken up immediately by plants, so you see quick results.
• Supplies elements, such as iron, when they are not available in the soil.

Liquid fertilizers are often used to help plants during critical periods, such as blooming, after transplanting, during fruit set or during periods of drought or high temperatures. Some experts recommend applications every month — or every two weeks — during the growing season. The best times to apply foliar sprays is early morning and early evening when liquids will be absorbed quickly.

To correctly use any fertilizer, always make sure to apply as directed.

The N, P, K’s of Fertilizing

The three main nutrients that have been identified as absolutely necessary for plants are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). These three are also known as macronutrients, and are the source of the three numbers commonly found on organic fertilizer labels (see How To Make Sense of a Fertilizer Label).

Nitrogen (N) is responsible for above-ground vegetative growth of plants, and for overall size and vigor. It is probably best known for its ability to “green up” lawns. That’s because nitrogen is a major component of chlorophyll, the green substance in plants responsible for photosynthesis. Nitrogen can be added to your soil through composted manure, blood meal, canola meal, and fish powder. Too much nitrogen and your plants will grow extremely fast, resulting in long, spindly, weak shoots with dark green leaves. Too little nitrogen and your plants will slow or even stop their growth, and have leaves turning yellow and dropping sooner than they should.

Phosphorus (P) promotes healthy growth, strong roots, fruit and flower development, and greater resistance to disease. Rock phosphate, bone meal and some guanos are sources of phosphorous. A phosphorus deficiency is recognized by dull green leaves and purplish stems. Plants are generally unhealthy, sometimes yellowing. Lack of blooming with lush green foliage may also indicated a lack of phosphorus.

Potassium (K), also known as potash, is essential for the development of strong plants. It helps plants to resist diseases and protects them from the cold. Because potassium plays a supporting role, it can be hard to spot deficiencies. Generally, leaves will show blue, yellow or purple tints with brown blotches or discoloration within or at the edges. Plants will lack growth and have small fruit and sickly blooms. Sources of potassium include greensand, sul-po-mag (sulfate of potash magnesia, quick release) and many liquid fertilizers.

Organic Fruit Tree Pesticides

February 19, 2011

By Laurie Rappeport, eHow Contributor

updated: June 2, 2010

Growing fruit trees can offer a pleasurable hobby for a home gardener or a source of income for a professional grower. Whatever the reason, people often decide that since they have the opportunity to grow their own fruit, they will make it as healthy as possible. Today, many people prefer not to use chemical pesticides when possible. Look for organic pesticides when growing fruit trees.

Tobacco Organic Pesticide

  • Add 1 cup of tobacco to 1 gallon of water. Leave it to sit for 24 hours. If it looks darker than the color of weak tea, add more water. Spray it on fruit trees to get rid of bugs, caterpillars, aphids and some worms.

Dishwashing Liquid Organic Pesticide

  • Place 1 tsp. of liquid dish-washing detergent into 1 quart of water, together with 1 cup of rubbing alcohol. Spray the solution on the fruit trees to get rid of ants, bagworms, blister beetles, bagworms, mites, slugs, scales and whiteflies.

Garlic as an Organic Pesticide

  • Get rid of aphids and apple borers by grinding up raw garlic and onions into a puree and soaking it overnight. Stain it and spray the liquid on the fruit trees.

Insect Organic Pesticide

  • Crush up 1/2 cup of a particular species of insect. Add 2 cups of water, strain and mix 1/4 cups of the solution to a few drops of liquid soap in a spray bottle. Spray it on the infestation to rid the fruit trees of that kind of insect.

Organic Pesticide for Fungus

  • Prevent fungus growth on fruit trees by mixing 2 tbsp. of baking soda, 1 pint of water and 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a spray bottle, together with 1 tbsp. of castile soap. Spray this solution on the fruit tree’s leaves every five to seven days.

Milk Organic Pesticide for Fungus

  • Protect the fruit trees from fungus growth by spraying a mixture of 50 percent water and 50 percent milk on the trees every three to four days.

Plant Garlic as an Organic Pesticide

  • Plant garlic around fruit trees to keep borers away.

Neem Organic Pesticide

  • Spray neem oil on the fruit trees to to make sure that ants, aphids, beetles, bagworms, boxelders, cankerworms, catterpillers, Codling Moths, weevils, mites, gypsy moths and thripes do not attack them. Neem comes from the neem tree, an evergreen tree in India.

Alcohol Spray Organic Pesticide

  • Spray an alcohol spray on the fruit trees to protect them from mites, whiteflies, slugs, blister beetles, ants, aphids and bagworms.

Raw Apple Cider Vinager Organic Pesticide

  • Keep mold and mildew from growing on the fruit trees by spraying raw apple cider vinegar on the soil or the leaves around the fruit tree.

What are some Great Natural Pesticidal and Fungicidal Recipes?

February 19, 2011

What are some Great Natural Pesticidal and Fungicidal Recipes?

Some of the best, effective, yet safest, pesticides and fungicides for organic garden use can be made without using any dangerous chemicals. The best way to control harmful pests and insects is to design your total garden landscape and annual gardening strategy to incorporate continuous companion planting ideas and various intense gardening and biodiversity concepts in order to increase beneficial insect and animal populations to control the harm animals and insect populations. Intensive organic mulching through your garden landscape also controls many pests. Some advanced organic gardeners don’t even use any natural pesticides or fungicides, because their soil structure and garden techniques encourage massive populations of beneficials.

However, there are exceptions where a few ideas are needed to control pests. Here is a simple list of classic organic and natural concepts:

1. Companion planting and intense gardening – you can plant certain plants close together to help fight diseases, control pests, or even improve the soil for its neigboring plants’ health.

2. Garlic, onions – all alliums are great for killing soft body insects. Flying insects can be paralyzed by direct hits. Also a great fungicide. Best if crushed or liquified in a vegetable oil tea. Use several cloves of garlic per gallon of water.

3. Hot peppers – fresh or powder is great for repelling rabbits and other pests. Many soft body insects can be killed by its acidic “burning” effect. Best when mixed with garlic sprays applications.

4. Canola oil, vegetable oils – mineral oils work also, but they are made from petroleum products. Oil sprays suffocate soft body insects. Don’t use too much on sensitive plants. May burn leaves. Don’t use no more than 1 cup of oil per gallon of water.

5. Alcohol – rubbing alcohol is good but it is made from petroleum products. Drinking alcohols are made from plants. Using only a few tblsp per gallon of water will kill many soft body insects. Too much alcohol in water will produce a super herbicide.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar – Use 1-2 tbls per gallon of water for a mild fungicide or acidic liquid fertilizer. Like alcohol can be a natural herbicide if too much is used in tea. Most white vinegars are made from petroleum products. Apple cider vinegar can contain up to 30 trace elements.

7. Corn meal – Use as a topdressing or in a tea for fungal control.

8. Compost teas – This multi-purpose fluid can contain beneficial microbes and soluble nutrients that can be a mild fungicide and disease controller.

9. Ground cloves – great repellant and can kill flying insects. Use several tblsp per gallon of water.

10. Japanese beetles – these pests are best controlled by killing their larva during the winter and early spring seasons with mild topsoil tilling, or using milky spore or beneficial nematode soil applications. During the warm season, the best way to control them is with traps. Simple inexpensive traps can be made by placing several small open milk jugs, cans, or buckets all over your garden. Inside the cans place some rotten fruit or fruit cocktail in 1/2 can of water with 1-2 tbls of liquid soap and 1-2 tblsp of canola oil. You can also add dry molasses or liquid molasses for extra microbial power in the soapy tea mixture to attract and kill them. Also planting a border planting of buckwheat will attract these pests away from your crops.

11. Diatomeous earth – this natural powdery substance will poke insect bodies and dehydrate many soft body soil organisms, but not earthworms. It can kill bees if direct contact of a spray mixture. This can be used on the soil or sprayed on the plant with soapy water. Unlike most natural pesticides, D.E. can stay in the soil working for decades.

12. Neem oil – like vegetable oil sprays, it suffocates insects. However, neem goes the extra step of destroying soft body insects’ ability to reproduce and makes them starve by removing their appetites.

13. Liquid soaps – Only use natural soaps or Murphy oil soap or mild liquid dishwashing soaps like Ivory. Soap help make teas stick better to plants and pests, and they also paralyze many insects in direct contact. Use no more than 1-2 cups of soap per gallon of water. Do not use much on flowering fruit or vegetable plants. Can hinder fruit production.

14. Citrus acid and molasses – repels and kills fire ants and similar pests. Mix 1-2 cups per gallon of soapy water. Hot boiling water mixed with garlic products, poured over the fire ant mounds will also kill the queens. You can produce citrus acid from crushing whole oranges or lemons into a tea.

15. Tobacco products – this is definitely a classic natural pesticide, but most organic gardeners today stay away from it. It may kill beneficials too if abused. It can cause diseases on tomatoes if not properly used. Most modern pro-tobacco pesticidal tea experts suggest to brew a tobacco tea no more than 30 minutes, to be safe enough to not harm beneficials like bees and ladybugs. You can mix in a liquid soap as a spreader-sticker. NOTE: Do not use tobacco teas on nightshade family crops. Also recent research has proven that the available nicotine produced in a tobacco tea is not the same stuff as nicotine sulfate. It is much safer than nicotine sulfate or rotenene. Just one drop of pure nicotine sulfate on your skin can may you sick. Homemade tobacco teas have great knock down power for tough pests like Japanese beetles. Chewing tobaccos are the most safest, natural forms for these homemade tobacco teas.

16. Bleaches and Peroxide – great fungicides. However, most commerical bleaches are not natural. Use 1-2 tblsp per gallon of water.

17. Dolomitic Limestome, Hydrated Lime, Bone Meal, Egg Shells – sprinkle a little lime or crushed egg shells around soil areas where snails and slugs live. Most high calcium carbonate products will work. Also a light dusting of lime on plants acts as a fungal control. Egg shells also have the extra benefit of discouraging snails and slugs because of its rough edges.

You can mix together several of the above materials in a special compost tea brew and it will become even more powerful against pests. Be careful not to abuse these brews, because they may harm beneficials if not used properly.

Happy Gardening!

Entered by CaptainCompostAL