Gardening, Humic Acid as a Soil Conditioner
Humic Acid is still a relatively new concept to most and is not widely available at most lawn and garden stores, but serious organic gardeners and organic farmers are very familiar with what it can do and how it helps all types of soil.
Humus materials are complex aggregate of brown to dark colored amorphous substances, which have originated during the decomposition of plant and animal residues by microorganisms, under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, in soils, composts, peat bogs, and water basins. "Humic acid" is the commercial term often used to refer to the combined humic and fulvic acid content found in these naturally occurring deposits. Humic acid is known to be among the most bio-chemically active materials found in soil. The best humic acids come from Leonardite coal which is made of of humified substances dating back thousands of years.
Humic acid has the ability to improve clay soils by breaking it up and allowing better water penetration and can improve sandy soils by adding back necessary organic matter to help with water and nutrient retention both of which aid in root growth and development. Humic acid also plays a vital role in the improved nutrient uptake of plants by acting like a carrier of nutrients and also by unlocking previously unattainable nutrients for the plants.
Another important role of humic acid is its ability to stimulate microbial activity in the soil. Humic acid provides a necessary carbon based food source for which the microbes to thrive on. Soil microbes play a vital role in helping plants obtain nutrients like phosphorous as they are responsible for solubilizing this nutrient so that it can be stored by the humic acid and available for the plant. Soil microbes are also important in improving the structure of the soil. Soil microorganisms will breakd down organic matter in the soil, thus building more humus and adding to the porosity of the soil which can aid in aeration and water retention.
As like other soil amendments, humic acid is not intended to necessarily replace fertilizers, however they are an excellent complement to fertilizers and will enhance fertilizer programs, possibly even reducing the amount of fertilization needed and with the cost of nitrogen on the rise, fertilizer reduction is a good thing.
Casey Coke is a Marketing Manager for Natural Environmental Systems, LLC, a global supplier of microbial solutions for pond and soil management. The company markets their own brand of organic soil conditioners under the brand name of TerraVive.
Related Tags: flowers, gardening, organic gardening, organic farming, soil conditioner
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