Whether your intent is to repel pests, invite pollinators, or to turn your garden into a relaxing get-away, essential oils can help! Here are the top and clever ways of using essential oils in garden:
REPEL SLUGS AND SNAILS: Cedarwood, Hyssop, and Pine are the best essential oils for keeping gastropods off of your plants. Mix about a teaspoon of your chosen oil(s) in a spray bottle filled with water. Apply diluted oil in a ring around plants where slugs and snails like to visit. Refresh as needed
REPEL RODENTS: Mice and other rodents are repulsed by the clean, fresh scent of peppermint. Douse cotton balls with 1 – 2 drops of Peppermint oil a piece then tuck them into the entrances of mouse holes, squirrel nests, and other rodent burrows to persuade rodent residents to relocate. Replace as needed.
ATTRACT OR INVITE POLLINATORS: You can also use certain fragrant oils to attract natural pollinators to your garden. The scent of Neroli (orange blossom) is an irresistible attractant for bees, as are the essential oils of many small-blossomed flowers such as Lavender, Hyssop, Marjoram, Helichrysum, Basil, Sage, and Rosemary. Also, try Lavender, Yarrow, Catmint, Fennel, Helichrysum, and Sage essential oils to attract more butterflies to your garden.
KEEPING YOUR FELINES AWAY FROM GARDEN
Did you know that cats hate the smell of Rosemary? If you can’t seem to keep the neighborhood tomcat from leaving his delightful presents amidst your herbs and veggies, try spraying your mulch with Rosemary oil diluted in water. Alternately, you can add a few drops of Rosemary oil to a wide, shallow container partially filled with water. Whisk vigorously to break up oil droplets then drop in strips of cloth or pieces of string. Allow them to soak long enough to absorb all of the oil. Tie strings between plants or around the garden perimeter. Hang cloth strips between garden rows, around plants, or anywhere you know the cat likes to dig. Refresh as needed.
STOP OR PREVENT FUNGUS FROM GROWING
Parasitic fungi cause damage by poisoning or killing cells, blocking stomata (breathing pores), and stealing nutrients from the plant. If you’re seeing signs of disease in your garden, chances are pretty good that there is a fungus to blame. Try some of these essential oils to stop fungal pests from spreading:
Tea Tree oil is one of the few natural remedies with the power to not just prevent fungal growth, but also to kill many species of fungus. To treat existing fungal growth or as a preventative, mix about one tablespoon of tea tree oil per cup of water in a spray bottle. Apply directly to infected plants once or twice per week. Remember to avoid spraying leaves when the weather is very hot and dry as sun-heated tea tree oil can easily burn leaves.
Neem Oil is as effective against fungal infections on plants as it is for treating insect infestations.
Two organic compounds in Citronella oil – citronellal and linalool – have been proven to inhibit the growth of many species of fungus.
Other essential oils with powerful fungicidal properties include Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Peppermint, Clove, and Cinnamon oils.
Also effective against garden fungus are oils extracted from plants in the Allium family (Onion, Garlic, etc.)
These are the ways in which you can use essential oils around your garden.