A Less Toxic Dormant Oil

In early spring, while fruit trees and shrubs are still dormant, many farmers and gardeners spray what is called a “dormant oil” on the bark and buds of their trees. A very old-fashioned approach to pest control—some say it dates back to the Thea century—the purpose of the oily spray is to suffocate overwintering pests, such as aphids and mites. Most commercial products are made of kerosene or other petroleum oil. A much less toxic and more sustainable approach is to use a renewable resource such as vegetable oil.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoon liquid soap
1 gallon water

Easy Directions
Combine the soap and oil and stir to blend thoroughly. Add the water a bit at a time, stirring as you go (water and oil don’t really emulsify; the soap helps the process). Pour the mixture into a clean garden spray container. Spray a coat of the mixture over the entire bark of a tree. Shake the
container frequently as you are spraying.

Makes 1 gallon, enough for one fruit tree.

10 comments

Sudesh Kumar Chopra

I am going to spray fruit tress for the first time. Can any one please clarify what size of cup one should be using to measure oil. Appreciate if the measurement be either in ml or in tablespoons.

Sudesh Kumar Chopra

Thank you for the recipe. Can you please let me know the measurements of the oil in ml or in tablespoons.

Sudesh Kumar Chopra

I am going to spray fruit tress for the first time. Can any one please clarify what size of cup one should be using to measure oil. Appreciate if the measurement be either in ml or in tablespoons.

Ted C.
Ted C3 years ago

Can't wait to try it and protect my fruit trees!
Thanks!

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago

thanks! i need to save my cinammon basil from aphids!!!

Ryan M.
Ryan M.3 years ago

I was wondering if this recipe would benefit from using Peppermint castile soap, for it's natural insecticidal properties; and substituting 2 oz. of the vegetable oil for neem oil? Any thoughts on this idea?

rene davis
irene davis3 years ago

thank you.

Tim C.
Tim C3 years ago

thanks

Abbe A.
Azaima A5 years ago

thank you

Robin C.
Robin C8 years ago

Thank you for this recipe, I need to spray my fruit trees and I would much prefer this recipe rather then the toxic stuff you get at nurseries.