What Is Horticultural Oil and How Is It Used?

Pest control is something that people have been struggling with since the start of agriculture. After all, the plants that we grow for our consumption are attractive to a wide range of other species out there, meaning that we have some serious competition when it comes to chowing down on them. Unfortunately, pest control is a complicated topic, not least because there are a wide range of pests that must be combated using a wide range of pest control tools and methods.

As such, it can be very useful for home gardeners to learn more about the tools and methods that are available to them. One excellent example is horticultural oil, which isn’t a single product so much as an entire range of them.

In short, most examples of horticultural oil come from a mineral source. However, there are some examples that come from a plant source such as either soybean or cottonseed. Whatever the cause, the oil tends to be mixed with some kind of emulsifying agent, thus enabling it to be used as a spray for the sake of maximum convenience. Horticultural oils are pretty popular, so much so that interested individuals should have no problems getting a hold of such products through the appropriate retailers.

How Is Horticultural Oil Supposed to Be Used?

Using horticultural oil is about as simple and straightforward as it can be. In short, interested individuals can just spray it onto insects. After which, the product impairs the way that insects breathe, thus causing them to suffocate. Depending on the exact kind of horticultural oil, there can be other effects as well. For example, some kinds of horticultural oil can impair an insect’s ability to eat. Likewise, other kinds of horticultural oil can cause issues with the metabolism of insect eggs. As such, horticultural oils are quite effective for getting rid of insects, which is why interested individuals need to exercise an appropriate degree of care and consideration to make sure that they target pests rather than more helpful insect species.

Initially, horticultural oils started seeing widespread use because of fruit trees. Simply put, fruit trees are very attractive targets for pests, but they can’t be sprayed with too much pesticide, both because the fruits need to remain edible for humans and because beneficial insects need to remain living for pollination purposes. As a result, the earliest forms of horticultural oils were used in the dormant season to kill over-wintering insects such as aphids and mites. With that said, those horticultural oils still possessed some serious issues such as their considerable weight, which is why they couldn’t be used on growing plants for fear of hindering their growth.

Due to this, more and more kinds of horticultural oil were created. This resulted in a number of terms, with examples ranging from dormant oils that are supposed to be used in the dormant season to the so-called “superior oils” that are supposed to be used in the growing season. Unfortunately, these terms have see a fair amount of change over time, with an excellent example being how all horticultural oils are now what were once called “superior oils” because of their more refined and thus more lightweight nature. As such, it is best to just assume that horticultural oils are horticultural oils while paying very close attention to the instructions that come with each product to make sure of what they are as well as make sure of how they are supposed to be used.

Final Thoughts

One of the upsides of horticultural oil is supposed to be their safe nature. After all, while they are harmful to insects, they are not harmful to either humans or our pet companions. On top of this, they evaporate within a short period of time, meaning that they won’t linger to cause further issues down the road. However, it is important to note that there are a lot of horticultural oils out there, including some that have been mixed with other substances, meaning that making too many assumptions can be very problematic.

Besides this, there are some other useful pieces of information that people might be interested in. For example, damage from horticultural oil is likelier during high temperatures. Likewise, cold temperatures are problematic because they interfere with the emulsion, thus resulting in uneven coverage. However, in the end, following the instructions provided with the product is the best chance for getting the right results.


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