The fern macerate, against aphids and cochineal

The fern macerate, against aphids and cochineal

The fern is a spontaneous plant that is often found in the undergrowth and in shady areas, very easy to recognize for its characteristic feathered leaves. The fern is a close relative of the horsetail, another very useful plant in the garden, with which it also shares the high silicon content.

Starting from the fern we can obtain a natural pesticide useful in the organic garden. To prepare it, we must let the leaves of the plant soak in water for a few days. The fern macerate has an effective action in particular in repelling the small insects that attack plants: aphids and cochineal. It can also be used to prevent rust and fungal diseases, although horsetail decoction generally obtains better results as a fungicide while remaining within the range of natural products.

How to make macerate

Preparing the fern macerate is very simple and costs nothing. There are only two ingredients: fern leaves and rainwater. Ferns can be found spontaneously by looking in the woods. They meet in the shade, especially where the soil is rich in silicon and where there is a little humidity. There are two types of fern, the male fern and the bracken fern, the best for the macerate is the second but you can use both.

  • Dosage. Each liter of water serves 100 grams of fresh leaves. If you use dried fern you can consider a tenth of the weight, for which 10 grams.
  • Type of water. Tap water should be avoided because it contains chlorine and limestone and can alter the effects of the preparation, better to use rainwater.
  • Receptacle. The ideal is to use clay skins, if not available, the classic plastic bins for water in the garden are fine, it is better to avoid iron barrels instead.
  • Maceration time. To have our natural pesticide you usually have to wait between seven and 10 days. When the liquid stops foaming it is ready.

Use of fern macerate

As with all natural herbal preparations, we must not think that the fern macerate is miraculous: its use must be timely (on infestations that have just started) or preventive (to prevent problems from occurring). Treatments often have to be repeated, particularly when it rains. If a plant is hit by a major attack of insects, the fern only serves to limit the damage. On the other hand, organic farming requires you to intervene in time and pay attention, no chemical shortcuts are available. Insecticides kill faster than fern macerate but are poison for the environment and do not distinguish useful insects from parasites, so those who want healthy vegetables should avoid them.

How to use. The fern macerate must be sprayed without dilution, directly on the garden plants, or poured into the soil. It is not necessary to carry out the treatment during moments of full sun, better to choose evening or morning hours.

What is the fern used in the organic garden

Aphids and cochineal. The most frequent use of this preparation is the defense against aphids and cochineal. To prevent the advent of these insects, the plants can be sprayed regularly (say once every three or four weeks). If aphids or mealybugs are found, it is necessary to treat every two or three days, after manually eliminating the most affected parts of the plant.

Other insects. The fern also repels several other insects, but due to its low toxicity it cannot be very effective against large and robust specimens. To keep away insects like cabbage, I recommend tomato macerate or nettle macerate.

Rusts (fungal diseases). Plant rust does not heal with fern treatments, but this macerate can help prevent the problem. Fern macerate can be distributed at monthly intervals. If problems of this type of disease are found on one plant, it is useful to spray all neighboring plants.

Other uses. The fern also has a repellent effect against moles and snails, however the preparation must be distributed very often to have an effect, so it is not particularly convenient as a system.


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