Rhubarb spray

A few days ago, I noticed the younger leaves on my apple curling up. It seemed odd but I thought it must just be because they were young. Then I took a closer look yesterday evening.


Curling leaves due to aphids

Aphids. Not what I want on my tree. So, remembering my mum’s suggestion that I use rhubarb leaves to counter insect attack, I looked up a recipe to make it and set to work.

I even had a handy spray, which had been waiting in my kitchen since I was in rented accommodation several years previously. Now, isn’t great when you know your clutter has been justifiably kept?


The spray ready to use

Once the liquid had cooled I set to work, spraying it on the apple tree leaves. I’ve given them a second go this evening, as well as the broad beans, the blueberry bush and the strawberries. I have no idea how effective it will be but it is organic.

A precautionary note: rhubarb leaves are poisonous to humans, too. The produce sprayed should therefore not be eaten for at least 48 hours after being sprayed. The spray is also toxic to our friends the bees, so it is not something to be used willy-nilly. In fact, I do hope none visit my garden in the next couple of days, as I really do not want them to be affected.

As for the recipe it is very simple. I simply boiled a few leaves for 20-30 minutes and then diluted it 1 part liquid insecticide to 9 parts water. It apparently starts to lose its effectiveness after 24 hours, so I have disposed of the remainder now.


Making rhubarb insecticide

I hope it will be effective and I won’t have to make any more, as I do feel uncomfortable about affecting bees and any other friendly insects that might be out there.

Anyway, had I not been so transfixed on digging at the allotment, it might not have come to this. There is plenty for me to be doing at home, as has been demonstrated over the last couple of days, but this does make me feel positive about my decision to move on from Wonder World 🙂

© Helen Butt, June 2014


About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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28 Responses to Rhubarb spray

  1. lizard100 says:

    We use a rhubarb concoction too.

  2. andy1076 says:

    A natural solution for one of nature’s griefs 🙂

  3. squooze says:

    Is do disappointing to see aphids, isn’t it? I’m planning some banana and orange peel extravaganza for the weekend…

  4. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  5. triedandglue says:

    I need this! Can you spray this on plants you are eventually going to eat if you wait 48 hours?

  6. triedandglue says:

    Thanks for the tips 🙂 Good luck!

  7. Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    Lovely post and thank you for sharing have a blessed day Helen

  8. epov88 says:

    Thanks 🙂

  9. I had never heard of any of these solutions for combating aphids. Thanks it is good to know for future reference.

  10. Pingback: I Got Aphids, Bummer | Tried and Glue

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