Molasses is a sweet syrup that is a carbohydrate used as a soil amendment to feed and stimulate microorganisms. It contains sulfur, potash and many trace minerals. Approximate analysis is 1-0-5.
It is a good, quick source of energy for the soil life and microbes in a compost pile, and will chase fire ants away. It is a carbon source and feeds beneficial microbes creating greater natural fertility.
Molasses is the best sugar for horticultural use because of its trace minerals. Blackstrap molasses is the best choice because it contains the sulfur and iron of the original material. Blackstrap is hard to find but is the best molasses because of the sulfur and iron, but any kind will work.
Molasses also has a nice side benefit. When used with compost tea and orange oil, it kills fire ants and other insect pests. By itself, molasses repels fire ants effectively.
WHICH MOLASSES TO BUY?
I’ve gotten several calls recently about how to tell the good molasses from the inferior ones that unfortunately are on the market. Here’s an update on the information in our website Library.
Dry Molasses (Dried Molasses)
Dry molasses isn’t dried molasses. It’s a grain residue carrier, such as bits of soy meal, that is sprayed and covered with liquid molasses. It’s an excellent carbon source that stimulates beneficial microorganisms. And, it repels fire ants. Apply to soil for landscaping at 10-20 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. for ideal results. Farmers and ranchers can use it at much lower rates and still get acceptable results. As little as 100-200 lbs. per acre can be beneficial. Apply when the air and ground are dry to avoid creating a sticky mess. It cannot be mixed with water and sprayed.
The sugar level in quality dry molasses should be 42% percent vs. the 38% and less that is on the market. The Stockade dry molasses products contain the proper amount of sugar.
Liquid molasses is sweet syrup that is used as a food, but also as a soil amendment to feed and stimulate microorganisms. It is normally sprayed at 1-2 oz. per gallon of water. It has an approximate NPK analysis of 1-0-5, but as with most organic products, that is basically irrelevant. Like the dry molasses, it provides food for microorganisms and is a source of carbon, sulfur and potash. It is a quick source of energy for the soil life and microbes living the soil, or the compost pile, and will help chase fire ants away. Liquid molasses is used in sprays to help organic pest controls and as an ingredient in many organic fertilizers. It is also a major ingredient in Garrett Juice.
Liquid molasses is an excellent foliar feeding material by itself and can be mixed with other organic liquids. It can be used for agriculture at 2-4 quarts per acre for soil application. For foliar application on broadleaf plants, use 1 pint per acre. For grasses and grains, use 1 quart per acre.
Blackstrap molasses is the best choice because it contains the sulfur and iron of the original material. Since it is hard to find, any molasses will work, but in general, the darker ones work best. None of the liquid molasses products last as long as the dry version.
Molasses to Control Nutgrass
Q. What is the application rate for dry molasses on a lawn? And how should I set the spreader? E.S., Dallas
A: Most broadcast or cyclone spreaders will put out about 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet when the setting is wide open. I usually make two passes to put out 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. A benefit of organic fertilizers is that no harm is done when the application rate isn’t exact.