Love to get your hands dirty in the soil? If you’re not familiar with humic acid, get to know it. It’s like a natural steroid for plant growth. And it works by promoting hormone activity in plants.
What is Humic Acid?
Humic substances, according to this research, are the main organic material in plants and other natural substances. These substances make up approximately 60 percent of soil matter.
Formed from primordial rock, humic substances are an important part of the ecosystem. It helps trigger complicated chemical reactions that occur in the soil.
These natural components of soil help plants take in nutrients. Humic acid benefits plants by improving soil structure and fertility. And, it’s the major player in humic substances.
In addition, this organic constituent of soil may help with agricultural applications due to its ability to positively affect root structure.
Although the component is as old as the Earth itself, how it works wasn’t well understood until recently. Especially its biochemical actions, not to mention its molecular structure and mechanism.
Humic Acid: Like Hormones For Plants
Research on humic acid has focused a lot on its hormone-like activities. Yes, plants, just like humans, have hormones. They may not have the same ones, such as testosterone (after all, plants don’t have testes). Nonetheless, they do have chemical messengers that affect their health and growth.
One type of plant hormone is auxin. Auxins help plant stems grow longer. They are produced in the tip of the stem of plants. Plant cells like to grow where auxins are most abundant. And when an auxin is applied to a cut stem, the stem will initiate roots at the cut. Furthermore, this plant-care website says auxins in the flower promote maturation of the ovary wall and promote steps in the full development of the fruit.
Remember “auxin” because we’ll come back to it shortly.
Humic Acid Soil
Unlike other soil matter, humic acid does not break down easily. That’s because of how it interacts with minerals.
Also, microscopic organisms, which feed on soil components, seem to have little effect on the compound. In other words, it won’t break down easily even if billions of critters are eating it.
Humic substances attach to metals. They also do the same with other substances including oxides, hydroxides, as well as other minerals and organic compounds. But it’s their interaction with toxins that attracts the attention of botanists and other plant enthusiasts and researchers.
This binding to metals makes humic acid able to reduce toxins, including aluminum. Arsenic is another toxic heavy metal that can be removed from the environment with the help of this humic substance. This shows that it may help reduce and prevent soil contamination.
Moreover, this natural soil component may help neutralize pesticides. Researchers also believe that it can help stimulate nutrient availability when nutrient levels are low.
However, it’s the ability of humic acid to bind to minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron as well as other trace minerals that makes it of vital importance to plant care. Consequently, because of this action, it prevents these minerals from leaching through the soil. This means that the plants are more nutritious.
Humic acid fertilizer
Humic-rich soil is fertile. And very fertile soils contain more auxin hormones than less fertile ones.
Benefits of humic acid on soil and plants
Let’s summarize the benefits of humic for plants. It increases nutrient uptake. Also, because it prevents minerals from leaching through the soil, this may play a role in helping a plant through periods of drought.
Furthermore, it helps seeds germinate. The next benefit of humic is it helps stimulate the roots. It does this by acting like probiotics for the soil. And by binding to minerals, it prevents the soil from containing too much salt.
Moreover, humic not only helps certain plant components (roots, leaves, etc.). It also stimulates growth in crops like corn.
In addition, humic influences respiration (yes, plants breathe) protein synthesis and enzyme activity. Plus, humic also not only enhances organic matter absorption, but also inorganic matter. Examples include nitrogen, potassium, potassium and sulphur.
Because of the benefits of humic on plants, researchers say it should play a key role in food safety and sustainable agricultural.
Ok, now it’s time to recall auxins, those plant hormones. It turns out the reason why humic acid is so beneficial for plants is because of its role in stimulating auxins. This stimulatory effect can now be observed, thanks to microscope technology, when cells first start to divide.
Consequently, research suggests the soil component may help stimulate cell division. And it also may play a role in determining what cells turn into (cell differentiation).
Humic acid application rate
So if you’re ready to get your hands dirty and use humic acid in your soil, how much should you apply. Before answering that question, you may be asking this….
If it’s naturally found in soil, why do I even need it for my plants?
Great question! The answer is because modern farming practices and environmental contamination have led to the depletion of minerals in the soil. And without these minerals (and too many pesticides), the plant hormones can’t trigger the growth or nutrients necessary to thrive.
But when you use the organic compound on your soil, don’t use too much. In fact, more is not better. That’s because many products with humic on the market also contain an ingredient similar to it, fulvic acid.
MaximumYield.com says that humic and fulvic are further enhanced by adding seaweed extract to your soil. In fact, combining five parts of humic acid with two parts seaweed extract works 50% better than either product alone.
Also worth mentioning is that when you combine humic and fulvic in your soil, it increases the amount of superoxide dismutase. Why is this important? It’s a compound that helps detoxify plant cells.
And if you grow your own veggies hydroponically, you’ll be glad to know that humic provides over 60 trace minerals. That’s very beneficial if you’re watering your plants with purified or reverse osmosis water. Not only will your veggies grow better, they’ll be more nutritious.
For more information on growing with humic, this resource is helpful.