What is humic acid?
Humic acid is derived from leonardite shale and is among the most concentrated organic material available. Elemental analysis of humic acid has shown it to consist largely of carbon and oxygen (about 50% and 40% respectively). It also contains hydrogen (about 5%), nitrogen (about 3%), phosphorous and sulfur (both less than 1%). Humic acid is a complex of closely related macromolecules. These molecules range in size from less than 1000 to more than 100,000 daltons, with the lower mass representing the younger material.
The exact composition of humic acid varies from one source to another. Our humic acid comes from North Dakota and is derived entirely from trees and vegetation, which were laid down in the carboniferous period when that area was the tropical sun belt of North America. Over the ages, the vegetation underwent compaction and heating. It slowly carbonized and became coal. This compaction squeezed out the organic acids and esters present in the vegetation, forming a pool on top of the coal bed. This pool dried, aged, and eventually became leonardite shale. Because of its vegetative origin, this material is very rich and beneficial to plants today.
How does humic acid work?
By supplying the soil with sufficient humic acid, we help to bind cations (positively charged elements). The ability to chelate positively charged multivalent ions (Mg, Ca, Fe and other “trace minerals” of value to plants) is probably the most important role of humic acid, with respect to your soil. By chelating the ions, humic acid facilitates the uptake of the ions by means of several mechanisms, one of which is preventing their precipitation (leaching through the soil). Another is the direct and positive influence on their bio-availability. It can also detoxify the soil of heavy metals. Research has shown that heavy metals can be “locked up” with the addition of humic acid.
How does humic acid benefit your plants?
Humic acid increases nutrient uptake, drought tolerance, and seed germination. It increases the microbial activity in the soil, making it an excellent root stimulator. Humic acid increases the availability of nutrients in our fertilizers and in those already existing in your soil. It will help to aerate the soil from the inside. It will also help to lower the pH of the soil to a more neutral level and will flush high levels of salts out of the root zone, all of which will help to promote better plant health and growth.
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