Acetylsalicylic acid, best known as aspirin, is one of the most popular drug compounds in the world, something that isn’t easy to achieve but that has become possible thanks to the multiple benefits that it offers.
Aspirin is known for its pain relieving properties and for treating minor aches, being mainly used for headaches, but its range of uses goes far beyond that. It even has uses for crops, since salicylic acid (one of the components of aspirin) is a naturally occurring compound that stimulates a plant’s defense mechanism when it’s stressed or attacked by a pathogen.
Applying salicylic acid can activate these defense pathways and “induce resistance to pathogens, environmental stresses and some insects” according to Rebecca Brown, Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of Rhode Island.
Aspirin and its beneficial effects on plants
Professor Brown has studied the effects of spraying aspirin water on tomato plants comparing it to plants sprayed with just water. The study found out that all of the plants grew equally well but the ones treated with a solution of 250 milligrams of aspirin in 1 gallon of water yielded more (but smaller) fruit. According to the experiment, none of the plants developed any disease because of the dry conditions they were subjected. A solution of 250 to 500 milligrams of aspirin (one or two regular tablets) per gallon of water can provide similar results; although any kind of aspirin will work, uncoated tablets are recommended since they are easier to dissolve.
If you want to try this approach to take care of your plants, you can apply the solution every two weeks, always making sure that the concentration of aspirin doesn’t get higher than 500 mg per gallon since damage to the foliage can occur. The solution can also be used on water destined for germinating seeds or new transplants. Note that it might take up to two weeks for the aspiring to have an effect on your plants.
This kind of solution or spray has been noted in recent studies to reduce infestations by 47% and although there’s no harm in experimenting with it as long as you follow the recommended dosage, it’s good to keep in mind that aspirin water is not a registered pesticide, meaning that even though it might help you prevent infections it will not kill fungi or bacteria if they’re already present in the plant.
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