epson salt

rox146December 12, 2013

Happy Holidays to all, I have been learning so much on here for over 1 year now and have used Epson Salts in late January in a dry state mixed with some cactus mix and worm castings on the top of the soil before a rain. I am in Ventura, Ca. and wonder if there is an advantage to mixing it in water first and then applying instead of what I have been doing? mahalo, roxanne

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the_first_kms2(8/9)

Rox,
This all supposition on my part but I would expect a solution versus granular application is more effective at being able to be absorbed into the plant. I've done it both ways but not consistently or in large amounts to see a significant difference between the two.

I am curious to know the benefits you have seen in applying in late January? Is it a local weather condition which helps start the growing season that early for you? How far along are the plants in ending hibernation? I have typically applied the solution in mid/late March once the tips have new leaves forming.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 11:38AM
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rox146

Probably a climate thing. Where are you? Texas? I did this same thing when I had 250 roses in Bakersfield. They actually started to push late January even though we had some cold dips after that in Feb.&Mar. I started this last January and did have the best ever year for me for blooms. But, I do have some older/better plants now. We have not had much rain at all out here nor is there any predicted SO I may be mixing it w/water first this year. mahalo, roxanne

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 12:06PM
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the_first_kms2(8/9)

Rox,
I'm in San Antonio. technically my latitude is about equivalent to 1/3 of the way down the Baja Mexico Peninsula on the west coast and about Daytona Beach FL on the East coast. We are classified as humid subtropical climate but have been rain starved for about 5 or 6 years now.

Most of the time I can bring my older plants back out by the first weekend in March and the youngsters by the end of the month. I think the more hardy common plants would survive most winters here outside with nothing more than an occasional need for a frost blanket and maybe some incandescent christmas lights for warmth.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 10:46AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Rox - Epsom salts are indeed a salt. While it's true that plants take up all nutrients (from soil) in the form of salts, too much total salt or too much of any one salt is not good for a plant. The measure of everything dissolved in the soil solution = the water's TDS (total dissolved solids). As the TDS increases, the plant's ability to absorb both water and nutrients decreases. If you have a very high level of TDS in the soil solution, water can actually be pulled out of cells, causing the cells to collapse and plasma to be pulled from cell walls (plasmolysis/ fertilizer burn). This is especially true if the salts are applied in granular form.

Epsom salts are rich in Mg, and Mg is an important nutrient to the plant, no question, but an excess of Mg can not only be limiting in terms of TDS, it can also make it more difficult for the plant to take up potassium, phosphorous, and calcium, but particularly calcium - IOW, it can cause antagonistic deficiencies of other important nutrients when applied in excess.

The bottom line is, an excess of magnesium (Epsom salts), iron, or manganese can have the effect of making your plant nice and green, but the nice green color doesn't necessarily mean your plant is as healthy as it should be. Your plant will grow best when the soil solution contains all the essential nutrients plants take from the soil, in the same ratio at which the plant actually uses those nutrients, and at a concentration high enough to ensure no deficiencies yet low enough that the plant isn't inhibited in its ability take up water and nutrients.

In most cases, when you start second guessing what your plants need and start adding elements or compounds that are designed to supply only 1 or 2 nutrients (like Epsom salts - [magnesium and sulfur]), the potential to limit your plant is much greater than the potential to benefit it. Choosing a fertilizer that has all the essential elements in a favorable ratio and sticking with that program is much easier and far less likely to result in unexpected complications.

Al

This post was edited by tapla on Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 16:07

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 3:55PM
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rox146

Thanks Tapla...what fertilizers do you use and where are you? Is that mid Michigan...? mahalos, roxanne

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 5:04PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Yes, mid-MI. I use Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 by Dyna-Grow for everything I grow, excepting maybe 2 species of plants being the exception. The exceptions, tomatoes and hibiscus still get the FP 9-3-6, but I add some extra K (potassium) because both use quite a bit more K than the average. I used to use Miracle-Gro 24-8-16 or 12-4-8 and add the elements missing from MG's formulation, but when I discovered FP 9-3-6 I switched to that right away. That might have been about 10 years ago or so, and I've been using it ever since. So far, it makes more sense to me as my 'go to' fertilizer than anything else I've ever found. I think there's a thread I started on this forum about fertilizing that should be easy to find. If you can't find it and want to read it, let me know and I'll find it/ link you to it.

Best luck!!

Al

This post was edited by tapla on Sat, Dec 28, 13 at 11:37

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 6:58PM
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beachplant(9b)

I dump a couple of bags of epsom salt throughout the garden late Jan/early Feb and then once or twice over the summer. The brugmansia really respond to it. By late Jan/early Feb my plants are all out and starting to grow. Fish emulsion, compost, chicken and rabbit manure take care of all the fertilizer needs of the plants, both in ground and in pots. Used the Dyna-gro and Foliage Pro this past summer on 1/2 of the plants in the front, pots and in ground. Can`t say I was at all impressed. No difference in wilting and fewer blooms. Quit using it and the chalice vine is now in full bloom. It got rabbit compost a few weeks ago.

I don`t grow tropicals in pots in the frozen north, I grow them in the humid sub-tropical drought plagued south.

Hurry up summer!

Tally Ho!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 9:36PM
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rox146

I am so glad you posted this...thought I was NUTTS! To each his own.....roxanne

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 1:16AM
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honeybunny2(Z9TX)

Tally I did the same thing, I bought both foliage pro and Pro-teck this year. I got less blooms, but healthy looking plants. I am going back to fish emulsion next year. When I used it, I had twice as many blooms. I will try the epson salt this spring, and see what it does. Laura told me that my effort was not in vane, since I will see results the following year.. I use epson salt on my tomates, to prevent black spot, but have never used it on either brugmansia or plumeria, Heck, I will try anything. Barbra

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 8:00PM
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rox146

honeybunny...start out slow with it.... roxanne

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 8:21PM
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beachplant(9b)

on the coast you really have to use about the rec. amount or even a bit more. The popular saying that the soil here eats organic matter is correct. Mulch, compost, fertilizer...all just goes straight through the sand.

I got better growth on the plumeria not treated w/ protek/foliage pro. I only used it inside the front yard. The plumeria planted on the west side and the garden, who got no supplemental fertilizer at all took off the most! Back to my usual neglect and haphazard tending this year. It works too well.

Tally Ho!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 6:15PM
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