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GardenWise has received a number of differing opinions on the subject of using Epsom salt in the garden. There seem two schools of thought: do use it in moderation and don’t use it except in very specific circumstances. Is it right for your garden?
GardenWise has received a number of differing opinions on the subject of using Epsom salt in the garden.
There seem two schools of thought: do use it in moderation and don’t use it except in very specific circumstances.
After further research, we are inclined to no longer recommend the use of Epsom salt in single-family gardens.
Before applying any treatment to soil, it’s important to first test your soil. Magnesium deficiency is usually only found in cases of intensive cropping or during extended periods of rainfall, as it can leech away quickly from top soil.
Since tree roots are an important source of magnesium, mulching with leaves will offer soil a good source of the mineral along with complementary nitrogen, which aides in a plant’s absorption of magnesium.
Find more information about magnesium deficiency in soil in the excellent research paper by Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, PhD, associate professor and extension urban horticulturist at Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center.
Are the leaves on your tomato or pepper plants turning yellow? Want more blooms on your rose bushes? Wondering why your lawn is looking brown? These problems may be the result of a lack of magnesium in soil, prohibiting roots from absorbing much needed nutrients. Give your foliage and flowers a boost by using Epsom salt.
Magnesium and sulfur, the main components of Epsom salt, can help to restore essential nutrients to soil. Although magnesium and sulfur occur naturally in soil, they can be depleted over time. Epsom salt can also help with seed germination and the production of chlorophyll, which plants use to transform sunlight into food. In addition, Epsom salt can aid in the absorption of phosphorus and nitrogen, two of the most important fertilizer components.
Epsom salt’s advantage over other soil additives is its high solubility. When distilled, and especially when applied as a spray, Epsom salt can be quickly absorbed by the roots. But unlike most commercial fertilizers, which build up in the soil over time, Epsom salt is not persistent so it can’t be overused.
For more information on Epsom salt and its many uses go to www.epsomsaltcouncil.org.