Want Greener Grass? Try Epsom Salts, Beer (oh my) & More

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Everyone wants their lawn to look as lush and green as possible, it’s one of the least expensive methods for giving your home nice curb appeal (whereas a brown, patchy yard is one of the first things that can downgrade your property value).

Watering CanHere’s a tip to help give it a boost: Epsom Salts can be used as a natural fertilizer. I’ve included a bit of information about why this works and added a few recipes below to help you get started (along with a secret tonic with surprising ingredients).

From epsomsaltcouncil.org (Why It Works In The Garden), the two major components of Epsom Salt are:


  • A critical mineral for seed germination.
  • Vital to the production of chlorophyll, which plants use to transform sunlight into food.
  • An aid in the absorption of phosphorus and nitrogen, two of the most important fertilizer components.

Sulfur, the other major component, is also an important plant nutrient.


  • Contributes to chlorophyll production.
  • Makes the primary nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) found in most fertilizers more effective.

To Use: Apply 3 pounds of Epsom Salts for every 1,250 square feet with a spreader, or dilute in water and apply with a sprayer (use as a lawn fertilizer).

Another recipe from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Household Solutions By Melodie Moore:

1 cup Espom Salts
1 cup Household Ammonia

  • Watering Can Method: Combine ingredients in a clean jar. Mix 2 tablespoons of the mixture with 2 gallons of water in a watering can, and sprinkle over 150 to 200 square feet of turf.
  • Hose Sprayer Method: Mix the entire batch with enough water to make a quart of liquid. Pour the liquid into the sprayer. A quart of diluted fertilizer will cover about 2,500 square feet of lawn.


Here’s one from the book Jerry Baker’s Green Grass Magic By Jerry Baker:

3 pounds Epsom salts
1 bag 20-5-10 slow-release dry lawn food (enough for 2,500 square feet)

  • Directions: Mix ingredients then apply half of this mixture at half the recommended rate with spreader set on medium.

Secret Lawn Tonic

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

Fenced Yard

You'll Be Surprised With The Household Ingredients Used To Make This Secret Tonic

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 (no light beer)
  • 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 tonic 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:

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 lawn this summer, here’s to happy, healthy (and tipsy) green grass!

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Published: June 22, 2009

What Readers Are Saying:
23 Comments to “Want Greener Grass? Try Epsom Salts, Beer (oh my) & More”
  1. Allison says:

    is this just for grass? would it work on house plants?

  2. Jessica says:

    I don’t know about house plants but it works really well on my tomato plants! I sprinkle a bit around the plants and then water them with powdered milk (prepared as the package directions with cold water).

  3. Paul says:

    I live in Maryland n my grass is brown i heard agout Epson salt so i tryed it,my grass is still the same.I tried spreading/and mixed wih water.what am i doing wrong?

    • Corey says:

      Try aerating your lawn. If there is poor drainage, the soil may be compacted and not allowing water to be absorbed fully by your grass. The result is week rooting systems and dead or dying vegetation. Once you aerate, fertilize your lawn with a nice slow release fertilizer like Scotts or Vigoro. This will also stimulate the growth of new grass as well. You should see noticeable results in roughly 2 weeks. good luck.

  4. leigh says:

    the tonic recipie i will definately be trying! We live in Kansas and our weather is just like Oklahoma….105 degrees day in and day out….grass will go dormant from the heat….right now it is so sad looking….definately doing this!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  5. Chinda says:

    Just tried Tim Heffron’s green grass tonic recipe this morning for the first time. I’m in California and it’s October…I am using this recipe on my sod that was put in late spring of this year. I have some spots where the grass is not that thick and green..I am hoping this recipe will take care of that. Instead of using a 10 gallon hoe sprayer, I used my empty Miracle Grow garden feeder hoe sprayer. I mixed the recipe exactly as instructed but in a container then poured into the sprayer. Also, mixed some extra in a soda bottle to use in three weeks. If I see there’s sign of improvement since I sprayed this thing from today I will continue to use this regularly….fingers crossed X

  6. gdlincoln says:

    Would like to know how this worked and if the grass stayed green.

    • Corey says:

      I do it faithfully. Go to a dollar store and pick up a few boxes of epsom salt. I spread it on forecasted rain days since rain water is nature’s best solution. My lawn is the envy of our subdivision. I can literally walk on my grass barefooted. Not to mention the salt repels ants, slugs and other pests. You really should try it. Your lawn will thank you.

  7. Tessa R. says:

    Can I add epsom salt and scotts turf builder weed and feed at he same time? Or will that kill my lawn?

  8. ymurphy says:

    Yep, it works, for any who doubt…I can send you a pic of a week’s growth…

  9. Twins4me2 says:

    I used the tonic lady summer in north Texas. Worked like a charm, my grass was browning due to the heat and a few days after the tonic it started getting green. I’m waiting for the temps to rise at least to 85 before I start again I can’t wait!

  10. Greg says:

    What does the pop and beer do ?
    Is this process safe for dogs on your lawn ?

  11. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I also want to know what the pop does? I don’t ever buy pop, so wondering what it is in it that is needed? I was wondering if just a bit of sugar would work instead? I can see beer, it has yeast and malt and good stuff, but POP?

    I want to do this TODAY, so if anyone can tell me, please do?

  12. Big Al says:

    For the last ten years I have added epsom salts and sugar to Scotts weed and feed for my lawn and have great results. After aerating, I create the mix in a wheelbarrow and lay everything down with one application at the start of the season (April, in NJ). I know it sounds strange, but after you try it one time, you will be a believer, too. I apply this mix April, June, August, and October faithfully.

  13. annette says:

    Can you put epsom salt on new sod?

  14. Sam says:

    I have the most terrible lawn in the neighbourhood, due to brown and bald patches. I gave a lot of fertilizer, guano and water, but without any success. Epsom salts will now be my last resort for a beautiful lawn.
    My shrubs and trees also grow very slow, so I will try Epsom salts on them as well.

  15. Cassie says:

    Wouldn’t the ammonia kill your grass??? I would love to try this, but I’m scared that it would kill it!!

    • Tim says:

      Soda{I use Coke} adds sugar to the soil ..Grass loves sugar .You can also use Apple cider or mollassis.I hope I spelled that right.

  16. Tim says:

    The main ingredient in all fertilizer is ammonia…It is what makes your grass green.

  17. Tim says:

    I live in Louisiana where the heat is unbearable…My yard is he greenest yard in town also I can sit outside at 1 clock at night and no mosquitoes…