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Humates are what make soil black. Farmers know that dark black soil is the most productive and fertile soil.

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Why Use Humates?

  • Humates are the key ingredient in Fertile Soil
  • Humates improve the soil’s water holding capacity
  • Humates stimulate strong root systems
  • Humates improve soil structure
  • Humates maintain soil stability
  • Humates function as a cation exchange system
  • Humates improve soil fertility

NC State Humate Study

Cooper, RJ et al. Influence of humic substances on rooting and nutrient content of creeping bentgrass. Crop Science
38(6):1639-1644, 1998.

Scientists from the Department of Crop Science at North Carolina State University conducted a greenhouse experiment to determine the effect of humic substances on creeping bentgrass turf (Agrostis stolonifera L.). They incorporated a commercially available granular humate to a depth of 10 cm in sand culture and demonstrated a significant increase in root mass compared to cultures with no humates added: 45% at 0-10cm, and 38% at 10- 20cm.

ORGANIC MATTER, HUMUS, HUMATE, HUMIC ACID, FULVIC ACID AND HUMIN:THEIR IMPORTANCE IN SOIL FERTILITY AND PLANT HEALTH

by Dr. Robert E. Pettit
Emeritus Associate Professor Texas A&M University
http://www.humates.com/pdf/ORGANICMATTERPettit.pdf
Pettit Paper in pdf

Application of humate based dry or liquid fertilizers can improve product quality and increase production. As outlined above humic substances are the building blocks of fertile soils and healthy plants. One important reason for adding humate based fertilizers to the soil is that the producer can again become a steward of the soil. By developing a more ecologically sound agricultural productions system it is possible to reduce soil, water, and air pollution. In addition
crop yields will improve and the nutritional value of the harvested products will significantly improve in quality. The extent to which humate based fertilizers improve crop yields depends on the history of cropping practices used on each field. Soils severely damaged by excessive use of acidic fertilizers or pesticides generally respond slowly the first year. Generally the first improvements observed are in product quality. As toxic soil conditions are remediated (corrected) and additional humate based fertilizers are applied, crop yields and product quality continue to improve.

It is no coincidence that all researchers have noted the increase in the activity of all types of soil microorganisms with the presence of humates. Efficient functioning of microorganisms is the vital part of humus formation. That is why humate treatment is the only effective way to restore the fertility of soil emaciated by intense exploitation, as well as soil that has not been originally rich with humus.

Humates provide a highly available source of carbon for soil micro-flora as well as other unique chemical properties. Live soil is vital for crop production and a natural resource for sustainable agriculture. Soils possessing greater microbial life produce healthier turf and crops and grow more nutritious food.

Humic substances determine the structure and the fertility of the soil. They are an effective measure in solving ecological problems, such as pollution of soil and subsoil waters by chemicals used in agriculture. Liquid humates are immediately available to soil micro-flora, providing highly available nutrients to turf root systems.

The fertility of the soil has always been related to its humus content.

It has been determined that humic substances participate in the regulation of most important soil characteristics:

Humates are accountable for the coloring of soil. Farmers know that dark black soil is the most productive and fertile soil. Long-term humate treatment improves soil structure. When humates enter the soil, they form potassium and magnesium humates that bond mechanical elements of the soil and act as organo-mineral bridges between aggregates.

Micro-flora uses carbon as a primary source of food nutrient; when micro-flora dies it rapidly decomposes becoming highly available as nutrients to plants. Enhancing soil carbon content is essential for high micro-flora growth that eventually is assimilated as nutrients by plant roots. The better development of the plant root system, the healthier the plant.

One of the important qualities of humates is their ion-exchange activity. It ensures humates’ ability to regulate the process of transformation of mineral nutrients in soil-plant system

Humate treatment increases water saturation of soil. It is particularly important for sandy soils. Its water saturation ability increases by more than ten times after humate treatment. The same principal applies when preparations are used for melioration.

The most important challenge of our times is restoration of the fertility of the soil in suburban zones of the industrially developed regions. Modern ecological overload makes the soil’s natural self-rectification with micro-organisms insufficient.

Traditionally, organic fertilizers (manure, compost) were used to increase biological activity of the soil and to improve its self-rectification. However, in spite of high nutritious value of these products, their bond with organic mass is too close, and it decreases their assimilation. That is why these products are used in large quantities (up to 60-80 ton/hectare). Introduction of humic substances solves the problem very effectively.

Humic substances determine the structure and the fertility of the soil.

They are an effective measure in solving ecological problems, such as pollution of soil and subsoil waters by chemicals used in agriculture.

Colloidal structure of the humic acid and the high level of hydrophilicity of terminal functional groups give them the ability to gelatinize. That is how many researchers explain the increase in soil water retention after the humate treatment. This is particularly important for drought-afflicted regions.

To varying degrees, and depending upon the climatic conditions, plant constituents, including proteins, starches and cellulose (100% organic) were decomposed under aerobic conditions (in the presence of oxygen) by a process called “Humification.” This process results in the formation of thick layers of rich peat and humic materials. This is why some people call the brown coals of Victoria the “50 million year old compost.”

As this material is covered with sediment, the combined effects of time, temperature and pressure convert the peat firstly to brown coal and then to black coals.

In the transition from brown coal to black coals humate content decreases, oxygen content decreases and carbon content increases. The older the coal the lower the humate content.

Humins present within the soil are the most resistant to decomposition (slow to breakdown) of all the humic substances. .

Fulvic Acids

The size of fulvic acids are smaller than humic acids, with molecular weights which range from approximately 1,000 to 10,000. Fulvic acids have oxygen content twice that of humic acids. They have many carboxyl (COOH) and hydroxyl (COH) groups, thus fulvic acids are much more chemically reactive.

The exchange capacity of fulvic acids is more than double that of humic acids. This high exchange capacity is due to the total number of carboxyl (COOH) groups present. The number of carboxyl groups present in fulvic acids ranges from 520 to 1120 cmol (H+)/kg. Fulvic acids collected from many different sources and analyzed, show no evidence of methoxyl groups (CH3) groups, they are low in phenols, and are less aromatic compared to Humic acids from the same sources.

The exchange capacity of fulvic acids is more than double that of humic acids. This high exchange capacity is due to the total number of carboxyl (COOH) groups present. The number of carboxyl groups present in fulvic acids ranges from 520 to 1120 cmol (H+)/kg. Fulvic acids collected from many different sources and analyzed, show no evidence of methoxyl groups (CH3) groups, they are low in phenols, and are less aromatic compared to Humic acids from the same sources.

Because of the relatively small size of fulvic acid molecules they can readily enter plant roots, stems and leaves. As they enter these plant parts they carry trace minerals from plant surfaces into plant tissues. Fulvic acids are key ingredients of high quality foliar fertilizers. Foliar spray applications containing fulvic acid mineral chelate, at specific plant growth stages, can be used as a primary production technique for maximizing the plants productive capacity. Once applied to plant foliage, fulvic acids transport trace minerals directly to metabolic sites in plant sites. Fulvic acids are the most effective carbon containing chelating compounds known. They are plant compatible, thus non toxic, when applied at relatively low concentrations.

Liquid Humates

Liquid Humates will bind (hold on to) cations (positively charged elements), such as Mg++, Ca++, Fe++, and other “trace elements” of value to plants. In this way, it grabs minerals locked up in the soil and also holds onto newly applied fertilizer, preventing its leaching.

Liquid Humate then facilitates the uptake of the ions (nutrients) by holding them until plants can and need to access them.

Another benefit of Liquid Humate is that it detoxifies the soil of heavy metals. Research shows heavy metals can be “bound up” and held with the addition of Liquid Humate and that is why we recommend adding it to pesticide sprays as in this way it will stop the pesticides killing the soil.

Mycorrhizal Fungi and Bacteria

Those fungi that are able to live symbiotically with living plants, creating a relationship that is beneficial to both, are known as mycorrhizae (from myco meaning fungal and rhiza meaning root). Plant root hairs are invaded by the mycelia of the mycorrhiza, which lives partly in the soil and partly in the root, and may either cover the length of the root hair as a sheath or be concentrated around its tip. The mycorrhiza obtains the carbohydrates that it requires from the root, in return providing the plant with nutrients including nitrogen and moisture. Later the plant roots will also absorb the mycelium into its own tissues.

Beneficial mycorrhizal associations are to be found in many of our edible and flowering crops. In forests, the mycorrhizae create a fine underground mesh which extends greatly beyond the limits of the tree’s roots, thus greatly increasing their feeding range and actually causing neighboring trees to become physically interconnected. The benefits of mycorrhizal relations to their plant partners are not limited to nutrients, but can be essential from plant productions.

Bacteria are single-celled organisms, and are the most numerous denizens of the soil, with populations ranging from 100 million to 3 billion in a gram. They are capable of very rapid reproduction by binary fission (dividing in two) in favorable conditions. One bacterium is capable of producing 16 million more in just 24 hours. Most soil bacteria live in close proximity to plant roots and are often referred to as rhizobacteria.

Actinobacteria are critical in the decomposition of organic matter and in humus formation, and their presence is responsible for the sweet “earthy” aroma which is associated with a good healthy soil. They require plenty of air and a pH between 6.0 and 7.5, but are more tolerant of dry conditions than most other bacteria and fungi.

The important roles that bacteria play are nitrification and nitrogen fixation

Nitrification

Nitrification is a vital part of the nitrogen cycle wherein certain bacteria (which manufacture their own carbohydrate supply without using the process of photosynthesis) are able to transform nitrogen in the form of ammonium, which is produced by the decomposition of proteins, into nitrates which are available to growing plants, and once again converted to proteins.

Nitrogen fixation

In another part of the cycle, the process of nitrogen fixation constantly puts additional nitrogen into biological circulation. This is carried out by free-living nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil or water such as Azotobacter or by those which live in close symbiosis with leguminous plants, such as rhizobial. These bacteria form colonies in nodules they create on the roots. These are able to convert nitrogen from the atmosphere into nitrogen-containing organic substances.

Urea

Urea is a fantastic product, but unfortunately its heavy application along with other fertilizers has killed the fungi and bacteria on many farms. It is all the more fortunate because healthy soils full of bacteria are able to make a great deal more of the urea applied through the nitrification process described above.

Therefore, healthy soils need less urea to do the same job, reducing damage to the environment and cutting expenditure. Along with the actions of Humic and fulvic acids, the bacteria and fungi in Humates improve the soil and work directly on urea and other fertilizers to greatly improve their efficiency.

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We are extremely excited about adding Humates to our Compost Tea again this year. Let us show you the difference Humates can make in your lawn!

Now Accepting new warm season turf or mosquito control customers only

our 2115 fescue schedule has been filled.

Sorry, but our fescue schedule has been filled for this year. Our schedule fills up fairly quickly, because we are not a giant franchise. We run one truck with the owner and his son. We give personal attention to every lawn, as if it were our own.

If you have a warm season grass – bermuda, zoysia, or centipede – we still have some openings on our warm season route. Email jon@carolinaorganiclawns.com subject line “Warm Season” and I’ll get right back to you with a quote.

If you would like a Mosquito Control quote, email jon@organicmosquito.com subject line “mosquito” and I’ll get right back to you with a quote.

If you would like to be put on our waiting list, email jon@carolinaorganiclawns.com subject line “Waiting List” and I’ll let you know as soon as a fescue opening becomes available.

We would love to have you as one of the few. Thank you! – Jon & Daniel Cawley

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