Neem Trees: The Key to Organic Mangos
Simply Natural: Neem Trees As A Natural Insect Shield
For the last five years, I have been helping an organic farm in Panama called Simply Natural. It has been amazing to see the company grow from a concept to a fully-established farming operation in a short period of time.
I have a background in horticulture and a pretty good understanding of commercial organic agriculture. As such, I am always curious about what farms do for natural pest control or Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems.
Neem Tress Are Perfect for Tropical Agriculture & Pest Control
On this visit, I learned that one of Simply Natural’s keys to success is neem. Neem is an incredible tropical tree from India with 1,001 uses. You may have noticed it as a featured ingredient in your natural toothpaste or floss.
As it turns out, it is also a useful tree for commercial tropical agriculture.
The neem tree produces an incredible amount of foliage. It acts as a biological corridor, or screen. With this screen of foliage, it keeps out pollution from neighboring properties. Furthermore, it is especially helpful in the case of organic mango farming. The leaves contain chemicals that naturally repel a lot of insects usually attracted to mango.
On my visit, the Simply Natural team showed me this work in action. Neem trees surround Simply Natural’s mango farm. They act as a completely natural and effective insect shield.
What’s more, producers harvest the neem tree berries and process them into an oil. They mix the oil into a solution for use as a foliar spray in their mango orchards. This helps to ensure the health of the tree and fruit, and keeps yields high.
Neem trees, similar to most mango varieties, are drought tolerant. They are happiest in environments with an extended dry season. Naturally, neem tree thrives in places like Coclé, Panama, where Simply Natural is located. Producers need only a minimal amount of water to establish a neem tree. They can usually simply plant it and leave it to grow according to its nature.
The next time you are enjoying an organic mango, you may want to thank a nearby neem tree!
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