For a very long time, epsom salts have been used to treat everything from sore feet to dry skin. In recent years, doctors have begun experimenting with using nebulised epsom salts to treat severe asthma and intravenously to treat pre-eclampsia in pregnant women (aka: pregnancy induced hypertension) with very positive results.
But did you know epsom salts have a large variety of uses around your lawn and in your garden? Epsom salts are a simple, all natural fertilizer and pest control agent.
A quick history lesson for the history nerds reading this. If you’re not really into history you can skip ahead but it will be your loss.
Way back in 1618 in a little town named Epsom, about 15 miles north of central London, in the little country of England, a farmer noticed his cows wouldn’t drink the water due to the bitter taste of the water. He also noticed the bitter tasting water reduced the healing time of scratches, rashes and healed other ailments.
Word quickly spread across the countryside about the magical healing water in Epsom, England and by the 17th century the little rural farming community had turned into a full blown spa town. Unfortunately for the folks of Epsom the spa didn’t last long due to a shortage of epsom enriched spring water.
If you visit the town today the only remaining evidence of the town’s history is a water pump.
Epsom salts, scientific name: magnesium sulfate, was originally extracted from mineral water pumped out of the spring in Epsom, England. These days epsom salts are typically obtained through modern mining practices where rocks containing magnesium sulfate are mined.
Magnesium sulfate has a granular appearance very similar to table salt so be careful not to get them confused.
Epsom salts are for external use only and should never be consumed unless specifically directed by your physician. I bet consuming epsom salts would give you a terrible tummy ache but I’m not going to test that out for you.
Epsom salts have many benefits for your lawn. Iron, found in epsom salts, is easily accessible to plants and grass and helps them grow naturally. Many experts recommend applying iron to your lawn in the spring and fall to keep your lawn healthy and vibrant. Now that you’ve found this article you know you can use epsom salts in lieu of iron. Magnesium prevents grass from becoming overly acidic and helps achieve the necessary pH level for your lawn to grow up big and strong.
The other minerals contained in epsom salts will also help your lawn absorb nitrogen and phosphorus and aid in the production of chlorophyll which will give your lawn a vibrant green color and make your neighbors terribly jealous.
The easiest way to use epsom salts on your lawn as a fertilizer is to apply it using a lawn spreader, which will ensure even distribution over your lawn. Experts recommend applying a half pound of epsom salts per 100 square feet of lawn.
If you prefer, you can also dilute the epsom salts in water and apply using a sprayer. Experts recommend mixing 1 ounce of epsom salts per gallon of water. Don’t forget to blend thoroughly. Also note, epsom salts dissolve faster in warm water.
Epsom salts are also an all natural way to deter pests which damage lawns and plants without the need for environmentally unfriendly chemicals or cruel traps.
To get rid of slugs and snails, sprinkle epsom salts around areas they frequent. Typically flower beds.
Racoons and other mammals are also repelled by a light dusting of epsom salts around your lawn and flower beds.
Many gardeners use epsom salts on their plants. Epsom salts supply magnesium and sulfur which is easily leached from the soil by rain. Epsom salts are extremely useful when lack of nutrients in the soil causes yellowing of plant leaves. Epsom salts not only provide good nutrition to plants but they also help plants utilize nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium provided by other fertilization techniques.
Supplementing plants with epsom salts will also assist in germination, foliage and flower development, chlorophyll production and improved absorption and usage of nitrogen and phosphorous.
Epsom salts are all natural and do not build up in the soil and cause other problems. It’s safe around pets and children and acts quickly. Epsom salts are clean and odor free. Over application does not cause damage or burning to plants. Which is great because I personally have a very difficult time following basic directions.
Small plants: Dilute ½ tablespoon of epsom salts in 1 pint of water and pour at the base of the plant monthly.
Medium plants: Dilute 1 tablespoon of epsom salts in 1 pint of water and pour at the base of the plant monthly.
Large plants: Dilute 2 tablespoon of epsom salts in 1 pint of water and pour at the base of the plant monthly.
When planting tomatoes sprinkle 1 tablespoon of epsom salts into the hole you dug prior to planting the tomato plant and cover with a thin layer of dirt.
For tomato plant maintenance experts recommend using a liquid application. Every two weeks mix 1 tablespoon of epsom salts in a gallon of water and water the plants with the diluted solution.
When planting roses experts recommend soaking the roots in one gallon of water mixed with ½ cup of epsom salts. When ready to plant sprinkle 1 tablespoon of epsom salts into the hole prior to planting the plant and cover with a thin layer of soil.
For rose plant maintenance experts recommend applying 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height once a month directly around the plant base.
Experts recommend applying 1 tablespoon over root zones every 2 to 4 weeks.
Experts recommend applying 2 tablespoons over the root zones in spring, summer and autumn.
Sage plants are not big fans of epsom salts. Do not apply epsom salts to sage plants.