What You Need to Know About Humic Material and Soil Structure

Posted by Brett Halliday

Feb 28, 2014 5:00:00 AM

Humic acid helps growers of all sizes from root to leaf.

tilling the field

By now, you probably already know that humic material – which primarily comes from organic plant decay – can, among many other benefits, help to hold water, promote microbial activity and increase nutrient uptake as well as ameliorate soil salinity. In fact, it’s quickly becoming a popular tool for enhancing plant growth in private gardens as well as larger agricultural operations.

But what about the effect that humic material can have on soil structure, which is something today’s farmers and gardeners are increasingly concerned about? Here are four things you should know:

1. Fulvic acid is the most powerful known booster of beneficial bacteria.

Beneficial soil organisms, such as bacteria, rely on residual carbon compounds in the soil, such as fulvic acid, for their food source. The fulvic acid then stimulates the bacteria, which in turn release sticky polysaccharides that create mini aggregates. These aggregates are just one method of forming soil structure.

2. Humic acid is the most powerful known booster of beneficial fungi populations. 

In promoting fungi populations, you directly improve soil structure as fungi bunch together smaller soil aggregates to create larger particles.

3. Fulvic acid increases root density which helps them penetrate through the soil.

When applied to the soil, fulvic acid chelates the nutrients and thereby making them available to the plant. Once inside, the nutrients are then optimized by the plant while the fulvic acid increases the root biomass, increasing its strength to penetrate through the soil. This in turn, aerates the soil and improves the soil conditions for soil livestock and oxygen flow.

4. Humic acid improves aeration by flocculating soil colloids and forming stable aggregates.

This is a similar process to how calcium promotes physical structure in the soil. Humic acid is both negatively and positively charged with a large ionic radius (molecular size). This enables humic acid to bond to all soil particles, including clay, and create good pore space for roots and microbes.

Humic material has been shown to improve soil structure and the overall health of plants in virtually any agricultural operation. The application of humic material can be specific to your soil conditions and farming operation. For assistance in determining the best method of application we have agricultural specialists on staff for your support.

Have questions about how Black Earth can improve your soil safely and organically? Contact us today.

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Topics: fertilizer, black earth, humic acid, soil structure, nutrient absorption, fulvic acid, organic farming, soil additive