Potential problems of growing neem?

by Saff
(NSW Australia)

Are there any potential problems with growing neem trees? For example, potential weed problems, unwanted change of soil type. I love neem, I'm just asking this for personal research purposes.

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Neem as a weed
by: Birgit

Hi Saff,

There sure are problems in Australia, and I covered that:

Neem: "Wonder Tree" or Noxious Weed?

As for unwanted soil changes, that depends what you start out with. Neem is a great soil improver, both if grown and also used as a soil amendment.

Neem trees can over time nurse degraded soils back to health and bring acidic soils back to neutral by accumulating deficient nutrients and returning them to the soil via leaf litter. (The leaves are slightly alkaline.)

Neem increases soil fertility by inhibit nitrification (the loss of nitrogen from the soil to the atmosphere). This has been shown when using neem cake as a soil amendment, but leaves and seeds dropping onto soil and breaking down may have a similar effect over time.

Neem cake (the residue left after crushing and pressing seed kernels) is often used as a soil amendment and inhibits nematodes and other pathogenic organisms, like fungi and viruses, and stimulates earthworms.

Neem leaves and seed kernels incorporated into soil have also shown to increase numbers and weight of earthworms.

So, if you want none of that to happen, then yes, you could get unwanted changes :-).

Neem trees and hardscape
by: Barbados Garden enthusiast

Hi Saff

I have seen neem trees used in parking lots as shade trees. They do their job but end up destroying the curbs and parking lot so in the end they are not the ideal tree for this purpose. A neem tree in my own garden ripped the pool apron off the end of my pool. Their root system is massive so be careful where you plant them.

Barbados garden enthusiast

They choke out native trees
by: Anonymous

Since they grow faster than the boab tree, which is native, it doesn't take them long to overcome them and choke them out.

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