David C. Dudley, CES, CRS; Organic Solutions; Buena Vista, Virginia
Humic acids are fully decomposed remains of organic life. Humic acids exist naturally as part of nature’s life cycle, when plants and animals die, their molecules become available in soil for use by other organisms. After the decaying matter has passed through several cycles, the remains that resist further decomposition is called humus. Humus is the term that identifies a highly complex yet stable compound that resists further breakdown. Humus contains three compounds: humic acid, fluvic acid and humin. Soil scientists have now proven that humic and fluvic acids play a vital role in healthy soil and their contribution to soil structure is invaluable.
Today, unfortunately many human activities have degraded the soil’s ecosystem (organic matter) to a point where the soil is almost void of life. Soil degradation is the greatest cause of erosion and plant life failure. Intensive plowing, monoculture cropping, and chemical use break the natural bonds between plants and the soil community and spur profound changes belowground. (Berkin)
Despite the spread of soil conservation efforts, two soil historians write, “in global terms the past 60 years have brought human-induced soil erosion and the destruction of soil ecosystems to unprecedented levels.” (Berkin) Currently, topsoil is being either used up or eroded at rates far greater that it can be replaced. For soil to be healthy and productive organic matter should be at least 2.5 – 6% range. However, so many farmers are working with soils that are 2% or below. To regenerate soil, organic matter must be replaced. Without a healthy amount of humus the biological activity of the soil and the plants that depend on it is dramatically reduced.
What are the benefits of SoilLife:
Humic acid can generate healthier plants and a higher crop yield. Humic acid benefits the soil and the plants.
- Improved structure of soil: Prevents high water and nutrient losses in light, sandy soils, simultaneously converting them into fruitful soils by way of decomposition. In heavy and compact soils, aeration of soil and water retention is improved; cultivation measures are facilitated.
- Prevents soil cracking, surface water runoff and soil erosion by increasing the ability of colloids to combine.
- Helps the soil loosen and crumble, and thus increases aeration of soil as well as soil workability.
- Increases the water holding capacity of soil and thus helps resist drought.
- Darkens the color of the soil and thus helps absorption of the sun’s energy.
- Neutralizes both acid and alkaline soils; regulates the pH-value of soils.
- Increases buffering properties of soil.
- Retains water soluble inorganic fertilizers in the root zones and reduces leaching.
- Possesses extremely high cation-exchange capacities.
- Promotes the conversion of nutrient elements (N, P, K + Fe, Zn and other trace elements) into forms available to plants.
- Reduces the reaction of phosphorus with Ca, Fe, Mg and Al and liberates it into a form that is available and beneficial to plants. The productivity of particular mineral fertilizers is increased considerably.
- Reduces the availability of toxic substances in soils.
- Humic acids biologically stimulate the plant and the activities of micro-organisms.
- Acts as an organic catalyst in many biological processes.
- Stimulates growth and proliferation of desirable micro-organisms in soil.
- Improves and optimizes the uptake of nutrients and water by plants.
- Acts as natural chelator for metal ions under alkaline conditions and promote their uptake by the roots.
- Becomes rich in both organic and mineral substances essential to plant growth.
- Enhances the uptake of nitrogen by plants.
- Liberates carbon dioxide from soil calcium carbonate and enables its use in photosynthesis.
- Helps eliminate chlorosis due to iron deficiency in plants.
- Stimulates plant enzymes and increases their production.
- Enhances plant’s nature resistance against diseases and pests.
- Stimulates root growth, especially vertically and enable better uptake of nutrients.
- Increases root respiration and root formation.
- Promotes the development of chlorophyll, sugars and amino acids in plants and aid in photosynthesis.
- Increases vitamin and mineral content of plants.
- Thickens the cell walls in fruits and prolongs storage time.
- Increases germination and viability of seeds.
- Stimulates plant growth (higher biomass production) by accelerating cell division, increasing the rate of development in root systems and increasing the yield of dry matter.
- Increases the quality of yields; improves their physical appearance and nutritional value.
Baskin, Yvonne 2005. Underground: how creatures of mud and dirt shape the world. Island Press: Washington DCp.