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Gardening — Hunic Acids: Help For Poor Soils

Soil Humus graphic Humic acid (H/A) is one of the most important components of organic matter. It is an organic bio-stimulant that contains three very important components: Humic Acids, Fulvic Acids and Humin. It has many uses and has become very popular in organic lawn care and organic gardening. However, few people really know what it is or what it does.

The Benefits Of Adding Humates

Humus has been referred to as “the most important source of human wealth on this planet”. Humus is dark colored, mostly decomposed organic matter that remains after plant or animal residues have bio-degraded or composted. It can occur naturally or it can be created intentionally with good gardening/agricultural practices.

Aside from helping improve soil structure, Humus is a virtual storehouse for both micronutrients (trace elements) and essential macronutrients – nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium. Humus is loaded with beneficial biolife as well.

humus[ hyoo-muh s or, often, yoo- ]
the dark organic material in soils, produced by the
decomposition of or animal matter and essential to
the fertility of the earth.

The importance of humus is not a recent discovery. Soil fertilization in early agricultural practices was based on the recycling of organic -vegetable, animal and human- waste. It can be said that the organic matter content of a soil generally determines both the quality and fertility of that soil.

Since all organic matter eventually bio-degrades to Carbon, the amount of available Carbon is another way to measure the quality of a soil. Carbon can be added to soils directly. In fact, it has been recently determined that the super rich, humus-laden soils of the Amazon Basin know as Terra Preta (dark soil) are actually man-made soils containing carbon-rich charcoal along with animal manures, fish residues well as pottery shards.

The soils that will benefit the greatest are those low in organic matter, such as clay or sandy soils. Products that have the highest concentrations of humic acids will provide the most benefit. Be aware that many products sold have very low concentrations that will provide little noticeable affect.

Humic acid keeps moisture and nutrients in the root zone longer, and helps the plant make better use of them.

  Increases the nutrient holding capacity of the soil.
  Improves fertilizer utilization by “chelating” nutrients, which puts them into a more absorbable form.
  Buffers pH problems by allowing plants to get nutrients otherwise “locked” in the soil due to high or low pH.
  Increases and enlarges root systems and promotes plant cell division.
  Helps buffer the effects of high salts in soils whether from natural soil conditions or due to excess fertilizers, ocean water or even dog urine
  Improves the growth of various groups of beneficial micro-organisms including those that help detoxify soils. Often used in soil bioremediation projects.
  Changes the physical and mechanical properties of the soil in structure, color, and consistency. Helps aerate and bioactivate soils.
  Increases the permeability of plant membranes, promotes more efficient nutrient uptake of foliar nutrients.
  Adds Carbon and also aids in correcting plant chlorosis.
  Improves germination rates of seed.

Recommended Application Rates

Soil / Farm  Apply 1-2 gals. HUMIC ACID with sufficient water to cover per 1 acre. Broadcast directly onto soil at pre- planting. For best results incorporate into the top 1-2 inches. It is not necessary to use more than 1 gallon per acre twice a year Spring and Fall application.

Turf Grass / Garden Soil   Apply 1 quart per 5000 square feet. (Commercial Turf application at 2% solution mix.) Apply directly after a dry fertilizer application.

Gardens / Potted Plants / Trees / Shrubs   Mix 2-3 oz to each gallon of water. Apply solution around root zone of existing plants: Water in just enough to soak the root zone (up to 4 inches for most.) Apply as often as every two weeks.

Foliar Spray   Mix 1-2 quart. HUMIC ACID with sufficient water to cover, per acre. Mist tops and bottoms of leaves. Moisten only to the point of run-off. (use a minimum of 5 gallons of water)

Dog Spot Aid / Prevention — Lawn Detox   Initially apply heavily at 1½ oz per 100 sf or 12 oz per 1000 sf. After applying give the lawn a good watering to move the Humic Acid into the root zone. Apply again in 3 weeks at 1 oz per 100 sf or – 6 oz per 1000 sf and water in. Then apply every 6 weeks at the 1 oz per 100 sf or 6 oz per 1000 sf.

When Should Humates Be Applied to a Lawn?

  Humate soil conditioner can be applied to a lawn any time of year on a lawn.
  We often apply humate to lawns the last week of May or first week of June (prior to the summer heat)
  Any time when seeding a lawn, humate is proven to increase seed germination.
  Any time a lawn has a disease, humate is proven to help diseased lawns recover quicker.
  After aeration, humate will get deeper into the soil and stimulate microbial activity in the soil at a deeper level.

Further Information:

 Wisconsin Native Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Native Berry Shrubs
 Lovely Native Violets
 Use Eggshells For Your Plants
 How to Use Banana Peels in Your Garden

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