It has been written that Molasses is a 'perfect food' as it contains a rich natural source of important nutrients.

In Cyril Scott's book, Crude Black Molasses, Nature's Wonder Food, he quotes that molasses contains B group Vitamins and an impressive range of minerals including potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium.

I tried to get a break-up analysis of our Mossman Mill molasses, but none was available at this time, but one chemist did say that it must be high in nutrients, as the nutrient loss after the sugar cane is processed can only go out in the molasses or in the mill mud. Molasses is a complete by product from the sugar cane.

Any organic matter is good for the soil. Molasses is a concentrated organic matter.

Some cane farmers in the old days used to apply molasses to the soil every two years and they had good results with growing their sugar cane. Don has been using molasses around our trees for a few years now. Most of our land is poor clay soil.

Don's theory is that the molasses does not actually feed the soil but feeds the micro-organisms, and they in turn feed the earth worms and the earth worms improve the soil.

Molasses must be applied carefully with precautions, as we have known some people to have killed trees by breaking down the molasses with water and applying it straight to the tree. The tree is saturated with too many nutrients, the young feeder roots are burnt and soon the tree dies.

Don says that the molasses must be applied in the dry season. Don applies the molasses full strength in a large circle at least one pace out from the drip line. About 1 bucket (2 gallons) to a tree. The molasses soon turns to a black organic substance. When the wet weather comes, about four months later, the tree takes up the nutrients which have been broken down by the earth worms and are rendered harmless to the tree. Also, by then the feeder roots have reached the circle of molasses.

If it does tend to rain early or irrigation water wets the molasses before the molasses is broken down, the young feeder roots have not reached the circle of molasses and no harm is done to the tree.

All we can say is that the molasses must be helping the trees, as they all look healthy and lush.

Christine Gray

DATE: September 1990

* * * * * * * * * * * * *