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A friend has recommended an Epsom salt solution for my garden plants. How are Epsom salts used here? I know they add mag to the soil if it is depleted but I didn't think they were used in alkaline soils... do they have any benefits? Will they help me grow blueberries etc., stuff that needs acidic soil? Research says that Epsom doesn't change the ph much but I know sulfur is good.

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I do not recommend Epsom salts - which is basically magnesium sulfate.  Magnesium is not at all limited in our Utah Soils and our soils have a tendency for high salinity. Magnesium is the central atom of chlorophyll. (Just as reference the largest industrial magnesium producer is MAGCORP which is located on the western bank of the Great Salt Lake) Epsom salts have been recommended in gardening books based in the northeastern US soils where magnesium is limited.  Best amendments to add to your soil is organic matter - or even better is to get a soil test from Utah State University Analytical Labs (www.usual.com) for $14 to know your basic soil profile - pH, texture, salinity, phosphorus and potassium levels.

Posted on 27 Mar 2009

Maggie Shao
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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