Essential oils have many beneficial uses for people, including relaxation, healing skin conditions, improving digestion, cleaning your home, fighting cold symptoms, making your own person care items and more. They can also be used to benefit your garden. According to Merriam-Webster, essential oils are the volatile and aromatic substances created by plants. Make sure the oil you purchase is a pure oil and does not contain additional ingredients that may be toxic to your garden.
The general recipe is mix 8 to 10 drops of oil or oils with a cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray around or on plants that are or may become infected with either insects or disease. Shake the mixture well before using since the oil and water will separate. Reapply every couple of weeks. Do not spray in the middle of a sunny day to prevent burning the leaves of your plants. Mist the leaves to avoid over applying and possibly harming your plants.
- Fungus Control
Essential oil from rosemary, oregano, thyme, peppermint, clove, cinnamon and allium family plants can be used to suppress fungal infections.
- Insect Repellant
Many insects can be repelled by odors they don’t like. Rosemary, lavender and lemongrass oils can be used to repel flies, fleas, mosquitoes and some insect larvae including cabbage loopers. Aphids, squash bugs , white flies, ants, spiders and beetles are repelled by the scent of peppermint, spearmint and orange oils.
- Rodent Control
Place a cotton ball imbedded with a few drop of peppermint oil near the entrance to tunnels of mice, chipmunks and other burrowing rodents. They dislike the minty smell and will relocate. Squirrels will also avoid peppermint scented areas.
- Snail and Slug Control
Cedarwood, hyssop, garlic, orange and pine oils are said to repel snails and slugs. Spray the oil and water mixture around the base of plants likely to be eaten by these garden pests.
- Wandering Pets
Cats don’t like the scent of rosemary. Spray garden mulch with a rosemary and water mixture. You can also soak or spray a few clean strips of cloth with the rosemary mixture and hang them among your plants or between garden rows.
Dogs have sensitive noses and will avoid pepper scented areas. Use hanging cloths as described above but replace the rosemary oil with block pepper oil to deter dogs from running and digging in your gardens. Don’t overdo the peppery scent or you may find the odor unpleasant too.