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Humic Acids: Help For Poor Soils

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.

Humus allows soil organisms to feed and reproduce, and is often described as the "life-force" of the soil.

  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.

Read more: Soil Aggregates and Soil Structure

  Importance of Humus

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 effect.

Humic Acid Benefits

  Increases the nutrient holding capacity of the soil.

  Improves fertilizer utilization by “chelating” nutrients, which puts them into a more absorbable form.

  Increases and enlarges root systems and promotes plant cell division.

  Improves the growth of various groups of beneficial micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, earthworms, etc.).

  Helps aerate and bioactivate soils by changing soil properties.

  Adds carbon.

  Reduces transplant shock.

  Aids in correcting plant chlorosis, loss of the normal green coloration of leaves caused by iron deficiency.

  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 2 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?

  Lawns: 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)
  Seeding Lawns: Any time when seeding a lawn, humate is proven to increase seed germination.
  Lawn Aeration: After aeration, humate will get deeper into the soil and stimulate microbial activity in the soil at a deeper level.
  Garden Planting: Humic acid can be applied in granular form as a soil amendment when you plant or transplant.
  Watering Garden: You can add it in liquid form to your watering can.

Further Information:

 Gardening With Liquid Kelp, Kelp Meal and Seaweed
 How To Use Bone Meal
 Fish Emulsion Basics
 How To Use Blood Meal
 Gardening With Peat Moss

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