Humic Matter.

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by WeeDroid, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Hi folks,

    So I've been grappling with Humic Mater, it's derivatives and how they can be properly used when growing cannabis, particularly in containers since that is what I currently do.

    I've done a bit of research around the net and asked a few organic growers, however I have not done that much research on this site. Yet. However i have noticed that there does not seem to be a dedicated topic on Humic Mater, so I decided to start one.

    My next post will be a bit of an overview of bits of data on this subject. My apologies for not including sources. Some of it is chat on grow boards, some of it is lifted from web sites.

    The following post (third) will be an attempt to post a comparative chart that can hopefully act as a quick reference to the various forms of Humate solids available to the grower.

    This is an open invitation to share our knowledge of these incredible substances. All comments are encouraged. Hopefully we will all grow in our understanding of these marvelous and somewhat fossilized muds.

    Criticism is also welcome. :)
  2. ~ What are Humic Acids and Their Sources?
    Humic matter is formed through the chemical and biological humification of plant and animal matter and through the biological activities of micro-organisms. (Ill.1). The biological center, the main fraction of natural humic matter, are the humic acids, which contain humic acid and fulvic acid. Humic acids are an excellent natural and organic way to provide plants and soil with a concentrated dose of essential nutrients, vitamins and trace elements. They are complex molecules that exist naturally in soils, peats, oceans and fresh waters. The best source of humic acids are the sedimentation layers of soft brown coal, which are referred to as Leonardite. Humic acids are found in high concentration here. Leonardite is organic matter, which has not reached the state of coal and differs from soft brown coal by its high oxidation degree, a result of the process of coal formation (bog>peat>coal), and high humic acids content as well as higher carboxyl groups.

    ~ Humic Acids are commonly found in peat, manure, lignite coal and leonardite.

    ~ Mix in only one tablespoon of humic acid to about 5 gallons of compost tea, if the humic acid powder is a high-concentration variety. Stick with the 1 tablespoon of humic acid if the powder contains 85 percent or more humic acid and is 90 percent or more soluble.

    Adjust your dosage of humic acid to 2 or 3 tablespoons if the powder is less than 75 percent soluble and contains less than 65 percent humic acid.

    ~In natural conditions Humic Acids are not soluble. It is a reaction of nature, otherwise soils could be deprived of humus and washed out to sea.

    Humates are the salts of humic acids, which form complexes with phosphorus and micro elements which are easy assimilated by plants, and sharply increase efficiency of mineral fertilizers.

    ~… well humic and fulvic acid are part of the active humus make up, they are not the same as living/decaying humus that is part of the soil.

    They do act a little like humus in that they can hold nutrients and make them more available to plants, so adding brown coal to a compost can improve its apparent fertility and also stimulate and feed the micro heard, if there are also decomposing carbon products in the mix, over time it start to make a living humus as it all combines,

    in compost I prefer the idea of using humic acid extracts at small doses,

    the problem their effect is powerful and they are very easy to over do, force feeding plants is easy.

    Used properly in small amounts either added to the compost base, where after being absorbed it acts as a nutrients store, this means instead of all the nutrient being used quickly you get slow continuous release, plants do better like this feed to feed.

    The alternative is using a liquid form, again if used judiciously, early in growth just into flowering as it combines with the compost, it stimulates and nurtures the microbes and acts a little like humus in a fertile soil, over do it especially in flowering and you get excess nutrient uptake, this IMHO totally spoils the smoke quality of the buds produced.

    ~ Humus buffers soil against too acid or alkaline conditions, bacteria and fungi live on it, worms process it, it creates the crumb structure of the soil.

    Its a colloidal substance that makes soil fertile, it holds 80 odd% of its own weight of water, along with clay particles it holds the nutrients a plant needs readily available for the plant roots to take up as they need them. It attracts nutrients to its self and holds them as soon as they become available from ground water, so they can’t be washed away into the streams, rivers and aquifers.
  3. #3 WeeDroid, Oct 4, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2011
    Humic Acids

    Not soluble

    Extracts good in small doses?

    The biological center, the main fraction of natural humic matter, are the humic acids, which contain humic acid and fulvic acid.


    Salts, soluble

    Leonardite Shale

    Leonardite is very rich in humic acids.

    As Leonardite is completely decomposed, it does not enter into nutritional competition with plants for nutrients such as for nitrogen. This is not the case with incompletely decomposed compost, whereby the organic substances in soil are rapidly consumed up by micro-organisms and mineralized entirely without humus formation. Leonardite- based products improve the soil structure up to five years.

    Humic and fulvic acids (fulvic acids are humic acids of lower molecular weight and higher oxygen content than other humic acids)are commonly used as a soil supplement in agriculture, and less commonly as a human nutritional supplement. Fulvic acids are poly-electrolytes and are unique colloids that diffuse easily through membranes whereas all other colloids do not. Fulvic acid supplements consisting of a neutral pH are very weak fulvic compounds and do not deliver the benefits of free form fulvic acid (fulvic acid that remains unreacted with other substances or unbound to minerals) that exhibits a much higher concentration and lower pH. Fulvic acid branded as "ionic" is not free form fulvic acid, more accurately they are fulvic compounds or fulvate salts. According to the International Humic Substances Society all fulvic acids are colloids.
  4. #4 mrgoodsmoke, Oct 4, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2011
    Do products like GH diamond nectar fall into this category? How can I apply, and benefit from adding humic matter to a hydro setup? Or is that even possible?
  5. Let's try this set of definitions from the good folks at Bio Ag.........

    Humus - product resulting from decay of organic matter. Contains both humic and non-humic material

    Humin - the alkali-insoluble fraction of leonardite

    Humic substances (plural) - the collective name for the acid radicals found in humic matter. Typically separated from humic matter by alkaline extraction

    Humic acid (singular) - the acid radical found in humic matter which is soluble in alkali but insoluble in acid, methyl ethyl ketone, and methyl alcohol

    Humate - the salts of humic acids, collectively, or the salts of humic acid specifically. (The usage must be determined from the context)

    Fulvic acid - the acid radical found in humic matter which is soluble in alkali, acid, methyl ethyl ketone, and methyl alcohol

    Fulvates - the salts of fulvic acid

    Leonardite - a soft brown coal-like deposit usually found in conjunction with deposits of lignite

    Lignite - a type of soft coal

    Further discussion and explanation at the link..........

    I'll post links to the studies out of Warsaw, Poland that is considered some of the most extensive research to date.


  6. Here you go - Properties of Humic Substances complete with diagrams of the molecular formulas for humic and fulvic and it's in these specific differences that explain how humic and fulvic acid functions both in the soil (basically humic acid) and in the plant's vascular system (basically fulvic acid) and so on.

    This is the work of Professor Jerzy Weber at University of Wroclaw - Soil Humic Substances
  7. #7 LumperDawgz2, Oct 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2011
    Next topic should probably be the differences in the extraction methods employed to pull the humic and fulvic acids from rocks.

    Much easier extracting from plant material but the biomass required makes this unfeasible. Kelp meal contains very high levels of humic and fulvic acids.

    Dr. T.L. Senn and Dr. Robert Faust developed a process in the 1970's using kelp and kelp meal which was successful in extracting these acids but they were unsuccessful in figuring out a business model based on their research.

    Dr. T.L. Senn spent 55 years studying seaweed in agriculture and mainly in horticulture at Clemson University (1935 - 1990) and Dr. Robert Faust is the founder of Bio Ag and has worked, studied and taught in over 20 countries and 4 continents.

  8. Awesome stuff LD! Thanks muchly for sharing!!!
  9. Here's a working analogy perhaps.........

    "Leonardite is to humic acid that Dolomite Lime is to liming agents"


  10. My key question, along with many others I assume, is how to properly use these products? There is just too much random dumping of ingredients in the organic world it seems.

    I like to mix some with my compost blends but that is about it.
  11. I use BioAg products exclusively. I believe and use their suggested application rates. In particular the fulvic acid product. Since it's a true pure fulvic acid, hi-dosing can cause some really serious problems and interesting manifestations.

    Think of your neighborhood body builder strung out on steroids - almost a perfect comparison given how and what fulvic acids do and facilitate in the plant's cells.

    When using real products and not grow store gunk it's usually a really solid concept to go with the application rates suggested and recommended by the manufacturer.

    If not big problems will result.

  12. LD,
    I've always been kind of nervous to use the recommended rates for the ful power. I think they say use 20-30ml per gallon. I use around 5-10ml/gal.
  13. #13 WeeDroid, Oct 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2011
    Given your obvious breadth of knowledge in growing organic, I feel a recomendation from you LD is worth it's weight in gold. Thank you. :) I especially liked this page.

    It was mentioned to me by what seemed to be a highly respected organic farmer and cannabis breeder in the UK that hummic materials are not good for late flower as it can create a harvest that seems over fertilized

  14. organicterra

    Your concerns are well founded. Generally I don't use their fulvic acid other than germinating old seeds, rooting cuttings and during transplant. I go with 1/2 oz. per gallon of water with Aloe Vera and using kelp meal tea as a base.

    Other than these specific applications, fulvic acids are best applied as a foliar application. That comes from both Dr. Robert Faust and Dr. Ryan Zadow at BioAg and given their years of research I'm inclined to accept their published findings.

    If you look at the molecular formula of fulvic acid in the link I provided then you'll see how fulvic acid works. All of the 'C' and 'O' cations you see will be exchanged with element cations (Ca, Mg, Mn, Fe, et al) and when the fulvic acid molecule moves into the leaf stomata and roots it results in some impressive levels of elements moving directly into the plant.

    Given the 'nute' profile of Aloe Vera with its compounds (Salicylic Acid, PGRs, SARs, enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, etc.) the fulvic acid acts as a freight train delivery system.

    Something like that........


  15. If you're talking about oldtimer1 then I will limit my comments to this: oldtimer1 is a great man and I've read and studied his writings going back to the earliest days of OG. As a matter of fact I use his specific method for growing sativas in an indoor environment by removing the top 8 or 9 internodes from a plant leaving 4 - 6 side branches which become main colas after a few days.

    I disagree with his assessment on how these acids function.

    No big deal.

  16. Cool. :) I have some OT1 sativa genetics.

    So researching BioAg products, I find this for Ful-Power Fulvic Acid.

    Soil and container plants: 20-30 ml/gal (1-200 & 1-100 dilution)

    Well and good but how often and when is this applied for cannabis?
  17. I've been wondering what do you use as your source for Aloe? J/w because I don't feel comfortable putting the crap they sell at stores (contains Tetra-sodium EDTA) so I've acquired an Aloe Vera (Barbadensis) plant, and I was wondering how you use the Aloe in your organic indoor container gardening? How is the tea prepared? I think the plant will be the best source, seeing as how it lacks the unpronounceable ingredients (salts) in it.
  18. #18 Microbeman, Mar 17, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2012
  19. I sure hope so! :)

    Thank you very kindly good sir.
  20. WeeDroid

    The Universe is a great and wonderful thing!!! I was just sitting here doing research on where to get Ful-Power to use on germinating some old tomato seeds using LD's technique and wondering what I would use the left over solution on. Since I know that is degrades over time. So, trying to be considerate, I decided to do some poking around here on GC before I asked the gurus a redundant question and by golly if my search didn't find what I needed on the 1st try. Ask and ye shall recieve. Thank you so much for this very informative thread.
    Now for my new question!!
    I have this solution of 2T BioAg Ful-power to 1 Gal. dechlorinated water.I haven't started growing medicine yet, so can I use this on my house plants and do I need to change it in any way to make it a foliar spray that they can use? I was hoping to use it on a Bamboo plant in water that just seems sad!

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