What is Hydrogen Peroxide and How Does it Work?
Hydrogen peroxide is colorless liquid with a chemical formula H2O2. The formula itself, tells us that, hydrogen peroxide is similar to water with just one extra oxygen atom in it.
The extra oxygen atom breaks down and the molecule of water releases from this separately. This extra oxygen atom is what makes hydrogen peroxide so useful.
Hydrogen peroxide has found its uses in cleaning, bleaching, sterilizing and disinfecting due to its antimicrobial and oxygen generating properties. Aside from these uses, hydrogen peroxide can be very useful in your garden too.
Here are 10 Amazing Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide in the Garden
- Disinfects Tools, Pots and Greenhouses
Hydrogen peroxide has antimicrobial effects and therefore is used in the medicine for sterilizing tools and work surfaces. You can also use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect seed trays, pots and other containers in the garden before you use them again. Disinfect pruning tools in 6%-9% solution. Use the solution in a sprayer to disinfect the air and the surfaces in greenhouses.
Hydrogen peroxide is very effective against most types of bacteria, fungi and viruses. It’s even effective against spores when applied at concentrations above 10%. But you must be really careful when handling such concentrated solutions because it can burn your skin and plant tissues.
- Prevents Root Rot
In case of overwatering, roots suffer from oxygen shortage which leads to suffocation due to the lack of air and roots begin to die after 24 hours. To prevent that, water the plant with 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed in 1 quart of water. The extra oxygen in the hydrogen peroxide will supply the necessary oxygen to the roots. After this do not water the plant until top 1 or 2 inches of soil dries out really well.
- Boosts Seed Germination
Hydrogen peroxide can help seeds germinate faster, by softening the coat of seeds and killing any pathogen present on the seed coat. This increases the germination rate and helps the seed germinate faster. Dip the seeds in a 3% hydrogen peroxide for half an hour. Take them out after 30 minutes and rinse them with water several times. Then plant them as usual.
- Destroys Mold and Mildew
Thanks to its one extra oxygen molecule, hydrogen peroxide has strong oxidizing properties which are fatal for mold and mildew. Add 10 tablespoons of 3%-6% hydrogen peroxide in a liter of water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and apply it on the plants every day until the fungus disappears.
- Acts as Fertilizer
Boost the growth of your plants by using hydrogen peroxide. Due to its extra oxygen molecule, hydrogen peroxide helps plant’s roots to absorb nutrition from soil more effectively. Add a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide in 1 gallon of water and water your plants with this solution from time to time.
Note: Be careful not to use more concentrated hydrogen peroxide than 3%, since a stronger concentration can kill the plants.
- Keeps Pests and Insects Away
Another use of hydrogen peroxide is as a pesticide. Mix equal amounts of water and 3% hydrogen peroxide and spray the mixture on the plants. This solution will not only kill the pests but it will kill their eggs too. Hydrogen peroxide also kills the bacteria which develop on fruits and vegetables.
- Sanitizes Seeds
To prevent seed-borne pathogens killing off young seedling, disinfect them before sowing. Dip the seeds in 3% hydrogen peroxide heated to 1400F for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, wash off the chemical with plain running water at room temperature for a minute.
The process of disinfecting the seeds when you make sprouts, for personal or commercial use, is very important if you want to avoid food-borne illnesses causes by E. coli, Listeria or Salmonella.
- Prevents and Controls Bacterial Rot
Cuts and bruises on plant tissues are the main cause of bacterial infections. But sometimes insects can spread the disease too. These bacterial infections cause fruit, flower buds, bulbs and tubers to rot into a liquid mush. Spray the crops with hydrogen peroxide solution to protect them. Apply the solution on fresh cuts of tree branches or spray them after pruning. You can soak bulbs and tubers in the chemical solution when you prepare them for storing.
- Kills Weeds
Clean your sidewalks or concrete pavements from the unwanted weeds with hydrogen peroxide. Pour 10% concentration of hydrogen peroxide on weed and leave it on to scorch the leaves as well as the plant parts below. For prolonged action, is best if you apply the solution in the early morning or late evenings since the sunlight quickly breaks down hydrogen peroxide.
- Preserves Fruits and Vegetables
Hydrogen peroxide can be used to preserve fruits and vegetables after they have been harvested. Spray a mixture of 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and ½ cup of water over the fruits and vegetables. Put them in the refrigerator. This mixture will prevent wilting and will preserve fruits and vegetables longer.
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