What are Humates?

Technically speaking, humates are the salts of humic acids. Humic acids are found in humus, and humus is formed by the decomposition of vegetable and animal matter. Without humus and humic acids plants cannot grow and survive.  The humic acids (humic, ulmic and fulvic) are essential to plants in three basic ways:

  • Humic acid enables plants to extract nutrients from the soil;
  • Ulmic acid stimulates and increases root growth; and
  • Fulvic acid helps plants overcome stress.

Due to its composition and the presence of the humic acids, humates help aerate the soil and help with moisture retention. Humates are developed from decomposed prehistoric deposits found in the western United States. The composting of plants that lived thousands of years ago pass on their vitality of life to future generations through these ancient compost heaps. Micro-organisms obtain energy and nutrients directly from the soil. Through decomposition processes, the micro-organisms break down these substances to a very concentrated form of humic acids and minerals, as well as gases and water.  As any vegetable or animal matter decomposes it creates humus.

Over time, these natural compost piles first become peat, then humate, then lignite and eventually coal. Often people confuse organic fertilizers such as manure or sludge with humates. They assume one organic fertilizer works as well as another. But unlike sewage sludge, manure and other waste products which require a period of time to further decompose in order to become active and available to benefit the soil and plants, the humate-mineral content of our Soil Solutions products are available to work immediately in the soil.

History of Humates?

Humus has been around since the beginning of time. The Romans were aware of humus, but it was not until the 18th century that scientists discovered the humic acids, and not until the early 1960’s has science been able to find a way to analyze humus and humate to determine its humic acids content. Unfortunately for mankind and the environment, research grants to agricultural universities have come primarily from the commercial fertilizer companies, many of whom considered humates a competitor. Therefore, effectiveness of the humic acids has not been widely published. Humates time has now come.

More and more people are becoming aware of the earth’s environment and the deterioration of the planet. More and more people are aware of the effects of chemicals and fertilizers on the soil and the fact that our soil has become depleted and worn out. Scientific research has shown that humates can restore the vitality of the soil and increase the soil’s capacity to retain moisture, and even help chemical fertilizers become more effective. By participating in our Soil Solutions program, you are doing your part to help the environment as well as improving the health and well-being of your entire landscape.


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