Recently, a pesticide that I used to treat a number of my young plants killed everything I applied it to. I applied it in accordance with the directions, and the brand is well-reviewed on Amazon, but that didn't stop my melons, tomatoes, okra, and bottle gourds from deforming and slowly dying. Thankfully, I only treated my first crop of the season, and by now, I have a whole second generation of plants fruiting, but that doesn't stop it from being a huge bummer and a great material lesson.

I know some oil-based pesticides can cause stress, and it's my own fault for not testing this new treatment on a smaller population first, but I'm wondering if anyone else had any experience with this, and what steps I can take to keep this from happening again. Should I apply pesticide to older plants only? If so, how can I protect my younger plants in a more gentle fashion in a bug-rich environment? I'm also (of course) VERY open to recommendations for other organic or at least naturally sources pesticide options.

  • which product did you use? I'd like to check out the list of ingredients... And you say you used it on your young plants, but in the text of the question, you mention using it only on older plants...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 17:56
  • Sorry, confusing wording. The plants were young when I used it on them, but we planted two crops a few weeks apart. I only used the spray on the older generations. As for brand, it was Garden Safe Insect Killer, a pyrethrin-based pesticide derived from chrysanthemum oil. Most of the negative reviews just said it didn't kill the bugs. We rolled the die to get something less toxic in the garden, but it ended up killing everything it touched. Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 18:34
  • Ready mixed or did you mix it yourself? Ingredient list not very useful - 99% of it is listed as 'other ingredients'...so unless those other ingredients contain a herbicide, there's no way the active ingredients would kill your plants - unless the mix was too strong, or the plants only had 4 leaves, and even then, it'd be a stretch to kill them.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 19:09
  • Some unusually heavy warnings not to spray till run off - weird because mostly with insecticides, that's exactly how you apply them. I'd contact the company and ask what the 99% other ingredients are ... Neem spray might be the way to go...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 19:16
  • SB plant invigorator is effective, and approved for use in the UK. It's basically a soap spray, similar to neem oil.
    – Nic
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 23:14


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