Cheap, easy and does it all!
Not your kitchen molasses! Horticulture Molasses does things for your plants like nothing else can and it’s the cheapest gardening product per square foot…a gallon can cover a half-acre. Put it in a sprayer, turn some music on and start spraying every inch of your yard, no need to be careful. You simply can’t over do it, but you get to the point of deminishing returns. Molasses can kill insects andcauses a massive bloom of microbes in the soil. It also drives out Fire Ants. It will NOT make your plants sticky.
Sugars are how plants store energy for rainy days and winter hibernation. So, why is this important to you as a gardener? Aside from basically giving your plants a power boost, you are stopping bugs. “What?” you ask. Yes, it stops bugs. Insects are very simple creatures. They can only feed within a narrow window of sugar content. When the sugar content of plants is raised, insects can’t feed on them. They take one bite and move on.
The second way molasses controls insects, is by being directly ingested by the insect. What most people don’t know is that only Sugar Ants and bees can process the simplest sugars. Insects have no way of expelling the gas that builds up from fermenting sugar and the vegetation in their gut (draw your own mental pictures please). Plus, they have exoskeletons and can’t get bloated. Their delicate internal organs are crushed from the inside out. All a bug needs to do, is walk through or try to feed on a molasses covered plant. Insects are constantly cleaning themselves. They will try to lick the molasses off their feet and swallow it. If they take a bite of a molasses coated plant, they will swallow it.
Microbial bloom and Fire Ants
These two things seem unrelated. Microbes and specifically bacteria consume simple sugars (which is why your momma made you brush your teeth). When soil born microbes are exposed to simple sugars, their numbers can double in just 30 minutes. As microbes go through their life cycle, they add organic matter and micro nutrients to the soil, improving the soil and making nutrients more available to your plants. Regularly applying molasses to your soil and plants greatly improves the quality of the soil over time. Soils with high microbial activity are easier to dig in and stays moist longer.
So, about the Fire Ants…since it seems that the big universities can’t make money studying the effects of molasses on Fire Ants…they don’t do any research on the subject. But, it has been proven that molasses makes Fire Ants pack up their mound and migrate to your neighbor’s yard. It may be that the bloom of microbes, irritates the little stinkers. It could be that they are running from a specific microbe. It could be that they just hate sugar (they eat mostly protein which is why you can turn a greasy over baked pan upside down over a Fire Ant mound and they will clean it for you). What ever the reason, applying molasses to your yard, makes them leave.
Adding it up…
If you’re crunched for time and money, molasses is the answer to a lot of your gardening problems. The benefits are undeniable, your yard will smell great and you get to feel good about letting your kids and pets play in the yard. Whether you choose dry molasses (applied to soy chaff) or the liquid (which is cheaper to use), molasses is the single best thing you can do for your soil and plants. This is one customer’s story. He came in asking about fertilizer for his hay field. He was tired of expensive bags of chemicals and wanted to look at other alternatives. We talked for a while and he decided to run a test for himself. He applied the old stuff on half the field, because he had some left over and molasses on the other half. He came back some months later and told me that his neighbors were pulling in to ask what he had used. The molasses side was 6 inches taller and greener. He swore to me that nothing else was changed.
*****It was brought to my attention that I forgot to add this info. (It is hard to remember everything when you are trying to rule the world!) During moquito weather mix:
3 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp Liquid Garlic (a deterent and has some fungicidal properties)
1 tbsp liquid organic fertilizer of your choice (seaweed, fish emulsion, etc)
into 1 gallon of water
Spray with abandon, every week if necessary but it may last up to 2 weeks if we don’t get much rain. This also works like a charm on lace bugs on azaleas and lantana.