Epsom Salt Lawn Care: Tips On Using Epsom Salt On Grass

You are no doubt reading this on an electronic device, but before such wonders existed, many of us garnered our news and information from a newspaper. Yep, one printed on paper. Amongst these pages, more often than not, there would be a gardening column touting the proper way to prune roses or how to have a lawn envied by all. Lawn advice was often a mixed bag of info gleaned from personal experience or other readers. So what, if anything, does Epsom salt do for grass?

What Does Epsom Salt Do for Grass?

Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate (MgSO4), does indeed contain magnesium, which is an important component of chlorophyll. It is touted as a safe, natural product that can be used to increase everything from seed germination, nutrient absorption, growth, and general health of lawns and plants. There are a multitude of precise formulations for veggies, lawns, shrubs, trees, and houseplants. You need only look on the internet (unless you still read the newspaper!) to find any number of such concoctions with purported claims.

So does using Epsom salt on the grass work and are there really any benefits of Epsom salt on lawns? It really depends on what you are using the Epsom salt on the grass to correct. Let’s consider first what Epsom salt has been used for in the commercial farming industry.

Epsom salts have been used and studied for effectiveness on crops that were lacking in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is caused by either mineral imbalances in the soil or plant itself. This is most common in light, sandy or acidic soil that is leached by rainfall or irrigation. The addition of Epsom salts amongst crops has been used with indeterminate results and include:

  • Alfalfa
  • Apple
  • Beet
  • Carrot
  • Citrus
  • Cotton
  • Grains
  • Hops

That said, what about Epsom salt lawn care? Are there benefits to applying Epsom salt on lawns?

Epsom Salt Lawn Care

As previously mentioned, Epsom salt contains magnesium (10% magnesium and 13% sulfur), which is key to seed germination, chlorophyll production and improving the uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur.

Most gardeners have historically used it on peppers, tomatoes and roses. You can use it to up the magnesium levels in soils you have tested and found to be deficient. These are generally old, weathered soils with a low pH or soils with a pH above 7 and high in calcium and potassium.

Dolomitic lime is usually used to raise soil pH, but the benefits of using Epsom salts on lawns is its high solubility, and it’s inexpensive. So how do you use Epsom salt as lawn fertilizer?

Use Epsom salt as lawn fertilizer in the spring to facilitate lush green growth. Add 2 tablespoons to each gallon (3.7 L.) of water used on the lawn. If you have a sprinkler system, lightly sprinkle directly atop the grass and then allow the system to water into the sod.

It’s as simple as that. Now you just have to sit back and absorb the grass envy from your neighbors.

MSU Extension

Kevin Frank, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences - May 13, 2011

Will Epsom salt, baby shampoo and beer really help your grass grow?

I still read a newspaper – the real thing, not the ones that you find on your numerous electronic devices that everyone can’t seem to live without these days. This time of year it’s always interesting to read the lawn and garden tips that seem to come out at least weekly to “inform” the readership of what we should really be doing in our lawns and gardens. Last weekend I read an article that started by telling me to “forget fancy fertilizers,” and the best way to fertilize my lawn was with Epsom salt, which the article says is the primary ingredient in most fertilizers. Saturday Night Live used to have a skit where the news anchors would talk about news stories that seemed obviously wrong or stupid and constantly asked the question, “Really?” Every now and then I hear this in my head when I read information such as this and sometimes I’ll even say it out loud, “Really?”

So what about Epsom salt?

The truth about Epsom salt is that as the article states it is a source of magnesium, a nutrient that is part of the structure of chlorophyll – the stuff that makes plants green and helps them make food via photosynthesis. So, I agree that Epsom salt could be a benefit to the lawn as a source of magnesium and also sulfur. I disagree, though, in that it is not the primary ingredient in most lawn fertilizers. The primary nutrient in lawn fertilizers is nitrogen. Epsom salt is more commonly used in small doses for ornamental plantings, not lawns. So, I conclude after reading the Epsom salt recommendation for lawns, “Really?”

Baby shampoo, ammonia, beer

The string of insightful lawn tips continued in my paper just four days later under an article title that indicated we all might be going too far in going green and that going green shouldn’t have to cost a lot of green. They hooked me and I started reading. This time I at least made it through the first recommendation about dishwasher soap. The second recommendation advised me that for my lawn I should mix some baby shampoo, ammonia, beer (unfortunately for the lawn, not for me), and some corn syrup in a 20 gallon hose end sprayer. Really? What are these ingredients all about and how could they possibly work on a lawn?

Baby shampoo could serve as a type of surfactant that could reduce water repellency in the soil – if that’s a problem for your soil. Ammonia is a source of nitrogen. Beer and corn syrup has some sort of natural organic fertilizer or biostimulant. For the beer, I’d buy the cheap stuff – not the microbrews. The final comment about mixing in a 20 gallon hose end sprayer? How many of you have a 20 gallon hose end sprayer, and how many of you could hold a 20 gallon hose end sprayer? OK, go to your favorite store and ask them where the 20 gallon hose end sprayers are, really!

Proven and effective

Here are some simple fertilizer tips for your lawn that are proven and effective. April was soaking wet and with the warm weather now, the turf is generally growing faster than you can mow. If your lawn is still actively pushing upward, I’d actually consider waiting a week or two before putting down a fertilizer application. No need to force any additional top-growth beyond what the plant is already doing.

Select a fertilizer that contains slow release nitrogen sources. Slow release fertilizers include coated ureas, methylene ureas or natural organics. Slow release fertilizers provide sustained feeding of the turf over the summer months. Avoid single, heavy dose applications of water-soluble, fast release fertilizers such as urea or the triple products (fertilizers with N, P, K, analysis such as 10-10-10). Fast release fertilizer will give you instant satisfaction with dark green color and quick growth response, but won’t last long and the top-growth they increase can actually reduce root growth. Really.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

Did you find this article useful?

Recipes with Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt & Ammonia

  • Mix one cup each of Epsom salts and ammonia in a bottle. Add two-three tablespoons of this mixture in a watering can and spread it over 200 square feet of grass.
  • Alternatively, you can mix it with equal parts water to make a liquid fertilizer for covering your entire lawn.

Supplemental Lawn Tonic

  • Mix 3 pounds of Epsom salts with an entire batch of dry lawn food (20-5-10). Spread half of this mixture on the turf.

Also, check out these useful lawn fertilization tips on Michigan State University Extension.

Outdoor Designs

Epsom salt has been a go to home remedy for years. Known as a natural exfoliant, a remedy to

dry skin, sore muscles, small wounds, or used to create an inhome home spa experience,

epsom salts are widely used. What many people don’t know is that epsom salt can give almost

miraculous results to any lawn or landscape!

What is Epsom Salt? And Why Does It Work?

Epsom salt is simply magnesium sulfate. Broken down, that’s magnesium and sulfur. Now the

question is, how does magnesium and sulfur affect turfgrass and landscape plants? As it turns

out, magnesium plays a vital role in photosynthesis and the production of chlorophyll. A plant

that has an adequate amount of magnesium will allow for more efficient photosynthesis and

thus an abundance of chlorophyll. Having plenty of chlorophyll in the plant tissue is what gives

it that dark green color. As a result, having an appropriate amount of magnesium equates to a

When Do I Use It?

Epsom salt is best to use after periods of stress. This can be after a long hard winter when the

grass or plant is trying to wake up and stretch its wings, OR it can be used after a long hard

summer when plants are trying to recover and store carbohydrates for the winter. Though it can

be used anytime of the year, these two points will provide the most dramatic response in the

How Do I Use It?

Epsom salt can be applied in granular form. Granular epsom salts should be applied at 3-5

lbs/1000sqft of turfgrass. For landscape plants, it can be applied as a few handfuls. If you have

the appropriate equipment, epsom salts can be dissolved in water and applied at the same rate.

Either way, the results will be equal.

How Often Can I Use It?

Though epsom salts produce big effects quickly, it can be overused. It’s safe to use it only once

or twice per year as part of a regular lawn care maintenance program. Epsom salt also contains

sulfur. Grant it, sulfur ALSO plays a vital role in the health of plants (disease resistance), it can

make the soil acidic when overused. However, limiting your applications to once or twice per

year will not have enough of an impact to alter your soil pH.

Who knew? Epsom salt, great around the home, lawn AND garden!

Here is a collection of places you can buy bitcoin online right now.

Secret Tonic

*First published May 1, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization

Here’s a tip from wisebread.com for healthy, green grass:

You will need:

  • One full can of regular pop (any kind-no diet soda)
  • One full can of beer (not light)
  • 1/2 Cup of Liquid dishwashing soap (do NOT use anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid)
  • 1/2 Cup of household ammonia
  • 1/2 Cup of mouthwash (any brand)


  • Pour into 10-gallon hose-end sprayer (other sizes will work too)
  • In high heat, apply every three weeks

Pop, beer, dishwashing liquid, mouthwash, etc., … how could you go wrong with a mix like that! I admit when I first read the ingredients, I was a little iffy about it. The post mentions the groundskeeper’s name, so I did a quick search and found this on a tv station website: KSL TV (link removed, no longer available on website).

He gets these great results with no sprinkler system and only a little fertilizer.

Tim Heffron, Lawn Tonic Expert: “I started using it about five years ago– back in Oklahoma– where it’s 100– 100 degrees every day– day in and day out.”

His secret–a formula– a “tonic” made-up of common household ingredients. A pop, a beer, a little liquid dishwashing soap- some mouthwash–and some household ammonia–all mixed in to a 10-gallon hose-end sprayer. The pop and the beer are essentially food for your lawn, and,

Tim Heffron, Lawn Tonic Expert: “The combination of the two will allow the grass–the dead grass in your lawn– help to begin to break down and to compost much quicker.”

Well–looks legit to me! Make sure to visit both sites and read the instructions and details as to why it works, very cool tip!

Good luck with your yard this summer, here’s to happy, healthy (and tipsy) green grass!

Watch the video: Gardening With EPSOM SALT For A Greener u0026 Healthier Plant--DO NOT USE TABLE SALT!

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