Whether you’re a home gardener, hobby or large-scale farmer, you should all have a common goal: growing healthy plants and keeping them safe from pests. However, using chemical-based products to enrich the soil and stimulate growth could potentially be harmful. That’s why natural fertilisers and pesticides should be the preferred choice.
There is actually one completely natural product that can work as both a pesticide and as a growth enhancer for your plants: The wonderful Wood Vinegar.
What exactly is Wood Vinegar?
Also known as Liquid Smoke, Mokusaku, or Pyroligneous acid, wood vinegar is produced through natural carbonisation (a process in which biomass is heated in a container during the production of biochar).
The charcoal production exhausts smoke, which is cooled into the form of a liquid. This dark liquid is further filtered to make wood vinegar. Wood vinegar is extensively used in Asian countries as a natural alternative to synthetic chemicals.
Using Wood Vinegar to boost seed and plant growth
Improved seed germination and plant growth are possible with the help of wood vinegar. For instance, research indicates that the 300x dilution of wood vinegar can increase celery production by 17.2%. The same quantity of mixture tends to increase vitamin C in fruit and vegetables by 25.6%.
Using Wood Vinegar as a pesticide
Using wood vinegar in higher concentrations has proved to be helpful in protecting plants against pests. Research reveals that wood vinegar keeps termites and aphids away from plants. In research conducted by MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Rubberwood was treated with 25%, 50%, and 100% dilutions of wood vinegar. The results revealed that termites would avoid the Rubberwood that were treated with Wood Vinegar, even as a 25% dilution. This shows that even small dilutions of Wood Vinegar can deter pests and keep your plants healthy.
Benefits of wood vinegar as a natural fertiliser and pesticide
The natural composition of wood vinegar makes it ideal for plant growth and pest control in the following ways:
- It stimulates composting and enhances the strength of the roots
- It aids in increasing microbiological population by regulating the nutrients in the soil.
- Soaking seeds in wood vinegar enhances the strike rate of seed germination. As a result, more seeds tend to sprout.
- Fruits and vegetables tend to taste better if the crops are fertilised with wood vinegar.
- The antifungal and antibacterial properties of wood vinegar protect the plants from pests.
- The combined application of biochar and wood vinegar improves the growth of specific bedding species (such as Scarlet sage and Melampodium).
How to boost fertilisation
Different steps of the gardening process require differing levels of concentrations of Wood Vinegar in water. To obtain the best results from your Wood Vinegar, it is important to use the right concentrations:
- To enrich the soil, use the 1:200 ratio. Blend 1 litre of wood vinegar in 200 litres of water. Before planting, sprinkle this mixture on the soil.
- To charge your compost, use the 1:50 ratio. Blend 1 litre of wood vinegar in 50 litres of water and sprinkle it on the composting material.
- To boost bloom & budding, use the 1:200. Blend 1 litre of wood vinegar in 200 litres of water and sprinkle it on the leaves of the plant. Budding threshold will double or triple providing the plant is being fed plenty of nutrients and water.
- To boost fertilisation, use the 1:200. Blend 1 litre of wood vinegar in 200 litres of water and Sprinkle on the leaves and base of your plant.
- To germinate the seeds, use the 1:200 ratio. Blend 1 ml of wood vinegar in 200 ml of water and soak the seeds in this mixture for twenty-four hours.
Using wood vinegar in any of the above dosages will act as a natural pest deterrent but if you’re wanting to treat a specific infestation on the plant you would need to use a stronger concentration of 1:50 ratio. Blend 1ml of wood vinegar in 50ml of water and spray directly onto infected areas. Use daily for up to seven days. Spray the infected foliage and leave to soak for 20-30 minutes then wipe down the areas you have sprayed with a damp cloth.