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Humate Benefits


Humates are highly compressed, natural organic humus, the decayed remains of tropical rain forests which existed millions of years ago in what is now the southwestern United States. Humate deposits were once buried deeply but have been exhumed to near-surface conditions and oxidized by bacterial action in exactly the same way as humus is formed in rich agricultural soils. Thus, humates provide a concentrated source of naturally-occurring humus to your soil.” Humates have a high humic acid content (humic acid is one of the most biochemically active elements in humus). The minerals and trace elements contained in humates are readily available to plants through the complex process of chelation. Adding Humates is the most efficient way to increase the humus content of soil, as it is highly compressed and much easier to apply than any other form of humic matter. Also, since humates are completely decomposed, they enter into no nutritional competition with plants for nutrients such as nitrogen (not the case with incompletely decomposed compost).

Using humates restores the natural balance in soil necessary for optimal plant growth.

Mesa Verde Humates

.Mesa Verde Humates are from the Fruitland Formation in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico. Leonardite (composed of humates) is associated with coals and lignites and is an oxidized form of lignite. These deposits were formed in fresh-water swamps during the Cretaceous Period, approximately 70-80 million years ago, when a large inland sea covered most of the North American continent.

Heavy vegetation in the swamps built thick layers of peat which were rich in humus (see details below). This rich accumulation of organic matter was converted to coals, lignites and humates through millions of years of elevated temperatures and pressures associated with deep burial.

The Essential Components/Characteristics of humates

  • Long and short chain organic (humic) compounds, enzymes and proteins
  • Numerous cation and anion exchange sites
  • Capacity to organically complex mineral nutrients
  • Ability to hold nitrogen in the soil
  • Ability to increase the soil’s water holding capacity
  • Provide the environment for microbial activity
  • Contain secondary micronutrients necessary for plant life

These make humates the ideal material for replenishing /rebuilding the soil and stimulating plant growth. Humates increase nutrient uptake, drought tolerance and promote seed germination, as well as promoting beneficial microbial activity and stimulating the roots. In addition, humates act as a buffer against harsh chemicals or harsh conditions in the soil (both high and low pH).

Improved Soil Structure

Humus combines with clay minerals to form structural units called aggregates. These help to stabilize the soil and increase it’s permeability to water and gaseous exchanges. Also, life forms such as bacteria and earthworms, which are dependent on humus content, contribute a lot to the maintenance of the soil structure. The use of humate can prevent soil cracking, which exposes roots to the air and can cause crops to burn in severe heat conditions. Since organic matter is not water soluble, soil with a high humus content is less likely to be subject to water erosion.

Increased Nutrient Uptake

Humates have been shown to consistently improve the uptake of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron, as well as innumerable trace elements essential for plant health. This is due to the biochemically active nature of humic acid, and it’s ability to form both soluble and insoluble complexes with various metals, minerals, and organics. Nutrients are mobilized in forms that the plants can accept.

Improved Water Retention

Humates can hold up to 20 times their weight in water. They enhance the soil’s ability to retain water. This can be especially helpful with sandy soils, and contributes a large measure of drought resistance to crops.