How Much Epsom Salt on Tomatoes? Find Out

Epsom Salt, also known as Magnesium Sulfate is not just beneficial for bathing, it can spruce up your gardens. As with many other plants, tomatoes are prone to magnesium deficiency especially later in the growing season, resulting in yellowing leaves and generally diminished yields..

Magnesium, one of the components of Epsom salt is a micronutrient responsible for the absorption of other nutrients in plants, especially phosphorus. It is an essential nutrient of chlorophyll synthesis, the green pigment responsible for the absorption of light energy for photosynthesis.

Sulfate is equally an important nutrient for plant life. It works in conjunction with Magnesium to enable plants to take up important nutrients from the soil including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The classic symptom of sulfate deficiency is yellowing of younger leaves.

Magnesium deficiency in tomatoes

How Much Epsom Salt on Tomatoes?

Understandably, all soil nutrients work with each other to deliver positive results. When plants lack any of the essential nutrients in the soil, they start showing deficiency symptoms, which sometimes can be mistaken for a plant disease.

However, before adding any nutrients including Epsom salt, soil testing is very important. Too much sulfate has the effect of lowering the soil pH. This can interfere with tomato performance and ultimately the yields. Likewise, if Magnesium is in excess it interferes with calcium absorption.

So, how much Epsom salt on tomatoes? If you notice magnesium deficiency in your tomatoes, dilute Epsom salt at a rate of 2 tablespoons per gallon of water and apply as a drench to the base of the plants. The solution is especially useful for potted tomato plants.

For established tomato beds, Epsom salt solution works well as a saline solution for a tank sprayer. Treat your vegetable garden after the initial planting, then again after two weeks or so, and lastly when the tomatoes begin to flower. This will enhance the fruit’s taste and shelf life.

When to Spray Epsom salt on Tomatoes

Use Epsom salt judiciously and at the right time to avoid any negative effects on the plants. Incorrect use can result in tomato leaves turning brown or appearing burnt. This is common when the nutrient is applied directly in the soil without diluting with water.

It’s generally best to apply Epsom salt in the evening or early morning. During this time, the weather is cooler, which helps reduce the risk of foliar burn from the sun. Even though, make sure to monitor your plants for any signs of stress. Excessive amounts can lead to salt buildup in the soil. 

Yellow leaves on tomato plants Epsom salt 

Undoubtedly, Epsom salt is one of the fixes of yellow leaves on tomato plants. However, there are multiple reasons for this problem including incorrect watering, pests, and fungal diseases. This means you’ll need to look beyond magnesium deficiency.

Watering tomato plants is a delicate balance. While the plants appreciate consistently moist soils, excess moisture in the soil causes root rot and fungal issues. Overwatered tomato plants may turn yellow when roots are damaged. Root rot is a leading cause of death in many plants.

Pests are also a culprit for the yellowing of tomato plants. Spider mites, aphids, and thrips feed by sucking sap from the plant. The juice is the plant’s lifeline, so when used elsewhere the plant remains struggling to survive. Most pests hide underneath plant leaves and can be difficult to spot.

Blossom end rot on Tomatoes Epsom salt

Blossom end rot is a common problem in tomatoes. The condition manifests as a dark, sunken area at the blossom end of the fruit. Initially, the affected area may appear light tan, but it can progress to a darker watery spot as the fruit matures.

The main cause of blossom end rot isn’t calcium deficiency, the mineral is abundant in most soil types. The problem arises when the plant is unable to translocate it to the developing fruit due to inconsistent moisture levels in the soil. This includes both underwatering and overwatering.

So, one of the things that Epsom salt cannot do is fix the problem of blossom end rot. To make matters worse, applying Epsom salt on plants with blossom end rot will typically make the problem more serious. Excess magnesium can induce calcium deficiency in plants.

Can I use Epsom salt instead of Fertilizer?

While magnesium and sulfur are essential macronutrients for plant growth, they cannot completely meet the nutrition requirements of plants. This means Epsom salt cannot be used as a substitute for plant fertilizer. You’ll need to use it along with recommended fertilizers for your plants.

Fertilizers are formulated to provide plants with a range of nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They come in a balanced mix beneficial to the overall plant health and growth. Compost manure is the only thing that you can use in place of a fertilizer.

Final thought

Tomatoes grow healthy and produce maximum yields when they receive all the important nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Epsom salt is a great source of Magnesium and Sulfate, which enables the plant to take up the core nutrients.

Tomato plant leaves yellowing is a major deficiency symptom for Magnesium. If soil tests confirm so, apply Epsom salt as directed on the product label. Make sure to inspect for other conditions including pests, improper watering, and fungal diseases.

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