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Discussion in 'Organic Growing' started by jakrustle, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. LD, I may have misunderstood, but you had mentioned your relief that a Humic Acid product we talked about was NOT made of Leonardite.I wondered if you could explain for me. It seems alot of literature/propaganda, points to Leonardite being extremely effective as a soil bulder

    For example, I read the following: "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 difference 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."

    Again, I might have misread the statement you made as I cannot find the particular thread it was in to re-read it. As I buy my products, I want to look for ones derived from other sources if you feel they are more effective for our soil.

    Thanks, again, LD, for being such a wealth of excellent info.

  2. #2 Stankie, Jul 14, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
    From BioAg

    BioAg humate, fulvic, humic acid and general humates info
  3. While I don't dispute your post at all. I have been using two products that both seem to be made with leonardite and are working well for me. One is LC10 plus 7 it's ten percent humic acid plus 7 minor minerals, in a liquid form. The other is a powder sm 90. I use the sm 90 the most but in very tiny amounts, like 1/4 tsp per 5 gallons of water. I'm not sure what type of humic liquid karma is, and of course it's more than humic acid but it works pretty good too......MIW
  4. Guys, thanks for your responses. I guess what I was asking was is there a better source of humic acid than leonardite? I thought I read a post a little while back where someone said they got humic acid from another source other than Leonardite and they were glad for that. Just wanted to clear up the question. As far as I knew, I thought the leonardite was the best source. I confuse my self a lot getting to learn all this stuff. Hang loose, bras!


  5. Yes, BioAg. HumiSolve, or TM-7.

    I believe Stanky provided the link.

    I'm with MIW on the small doses. Not familiar with his, but the BioAg stuff is very concentrated also, and a 1/4tsp goes a long way, for a long time.

  6. While there are certainly higher quality products than others on the market also take into consideration that several states only allow the term Leonardite on fertilizer labels as the derivation for humic acids, CA in particular. Some states do not acknowledge other sources of humic substances for the purpose of fertilizer labeling and registration. The state of SD doesn't even acknowledge humic acids as having a value to plants even though Dr. Leonard worked next door in ND and a lot of humates are actually mined in SD.

    The best in the US come from New Mexico, period. That's where BioAg sources and several others as well.
  7. The biggest difference between BioAg and the other main players is in the extraction method used. With the exception of BioAg, potassium hydroxide is used whereas Dr. Faust uses a fermentation method using enzymes from tropical plants resulting in higher fulvic acid levels which is a primary reason for using humic acids in the first place, i.e to increase cation exchange as well as various DNA and SAR responses.

    I stick with BioAg because it shows measurable benefits when used PER INSTRUCTIONS on the label. Hi-dosing with pure humic acids will invite a host of problems on several levels - primarily from the fulvic acid component.

  8. I agree completely that BioAg's production processes are far superior to the majority of other products on the market and that the benefits are certainly measurable.

    I wasn't aware though that the fermentation method utilized actually augmented the fulvic acid levels though. The source material, a protected deposit, does contain a high fulvic fraction before they begin any additional extraction so I always assumed the levels were naturally occurring.
  9. revblues

    Here's how it was explained to me on the use of potassium hydroxide.

    Here's an image of the molecular structure of fulvic acid:


    Like almost every other plant compound it is simply a 'hydrocarbon string' for the sake of this discussion. Depending on the amount of potassium hydroxide used for extraction and the time that it goes on, this chemical can and will break the bonds thereby reducing the total amount of fulvic acid.

    This is also the method used in processing kelp into seaweed extract (ASL & MaxiCrop specifically).

    Where the problems comes in is the under USDA NOP rules, the amount of potassium hydroxide that can be used is 'limited to the amount necessary to effect extraction' - huh?

    What does that mean?

    Probably whatever the manufacturer/processor wants it to mean is what I'm thinking if experience is any kind of indicator.

  10. #10 jakrustle, Jul 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2011
    I know this is off the mark, but I had to look up LD's reference to SAR again to renew the knowledge I know I once had. Anyway, below is an article on "Systemic Acquired Resistance" and Salicylic Acid (Aspirin). You guys have talked about using it before. I wonder if the willows here in the desert would work as well as the willows where I grew up. Back East we had Weeping Willows. Here in the desert, we have lots of Willow Acacia. I have plenty of aspirin, that's not hard to find! Looks like a little more research is in order on my native, Willow Acacia. Hope some of you find the article informative.


    In the fifth century B.C., the Greek physician, Hippocrates, wrote that chewing bark of a willow tree could relieve pain and fever. (No wonder squirrels don’t get headaches.) In 1829, the effective ingredient, salicin, was successfully isolated from willow bark. Toward the end of the 19th century, The Bayer Company in Germany trademarked a stable form of acetylsalicylic acid, calling it “aspirin,” the “a” from acetyl, “spir” from Spiraea (the salicin they used came from meadowsweet, Spiraea ulmaria, subsequently renamed Filpendula ulmaria), and “in,” a common ending in drug nomenclature.

    In the 20th century, over one trillion aspirin, the first medicine created by techniques of modern chemistry, were consumed globally to regulate blood vessel elasticity, reduce fevers and aches, prevent cardiovascular ailments, affect blood clotting, or ease inflammation.

    Native Americans and early settlers used willow bark for toothaches and applied it to the source of other pains. But they also recognized that you can actually grow a whole new tree by taking a stem and sticking it in moist soil. The hormones in willows cause rapid rooting, and they discovered these same hormones could induce rooting in other plants, too.

    Willow water
    To harness this power, they made a tonic called “willow water” by collecting willow twigs, trimming the leaves, immersing the stems in a pail of water, and pouring the water on newly planted trees, shrubs, and bedding plants. Commercial rooting preparations contain a synthetic form of indolebutyric acid (IBA) and growing tips of willows contain high concentrations of IBA, depending on the quantity used and length of time you soak them. Any willow (Salix) tree or shrub species will work.

    Another discovery: In the January, 2004 issue of The Avant Gardener, a monthly newsletter to which you can subscribe for $24/year at Horticultural Data Processors, Box 489, New York, N.Y. 10028, editor Thomas Powell notes that gardeners reported all sorts of plants growing remarkably better when given regular doses of tiny amounts of aspirin (1 part to 10,000 parts water; larger doses actually proved toxic),” and that The Agricultural Research Service is investigating the reasons behind aspirin’s beneficial effects.

    Plants make salicylic acid to trigger natural defenses against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Aspirin thus is an activator of ‘Systemic Acquired Resistance’ (SAR). However, plants often don’t produce the acid quickly enough to prevent injury when attacked by a microbe. Spraying aspirin on the plants speeds up the SAR response. Tests have shown this works on many crops, producing better plants using less pesticide. “It also makes it possible to successfully grow many fine heirloom varieties which were discarded because they lacked disease resistance.” Powell says.

    Scientists first encountered the SAR phenomenon in the 1930s. After encountering a pathogen, plants use salicylic acid as a key regulator of SAR and expression of defense genes. “Only recently have companies begun marketing salicylic acid and similar compounds as a way to activate SAR in crops—tomato, spinach, lettuce, and tobacco among them,” according to Powell.

    “ARS scientists are studying plants’ defenses, such as antimicrobial materials like the protein chitinase which degrades the cell walls of fungi, and nuclease enzymes which break up the ribonucleic acid of viruses. They’re also testing aspirin and other SAR activators which could be effective against non-microbial pests such as aphids and root-knot nematodes,” Powell says. “This may be the most important research of the century. Stimulating SAR defenses with aspirin or other activator compounds could result in increased food production and the elimination of synthetic pesticides.”

    He recommends we experiment by spraying some plants with a 1:10,000 solution (3 aspirins dissolved in 4 gallons of water), leaving other plants unsprayed. Tests have shown that the SAR activation lasts for weeks to months. (Sort of homeopathic heart attack prevention for your plants.)

    Things to do:
    Make your own willow water:
    Easily root azaleas, lilacs, summersweets (Clethra spp.) and roses by gathering about two cups of pencil-thin willow branches cut to 1-3 inch lengths. Steep twigs in a half-gallon of boiling water overnight. Refrigerated liquid kept in a jar with a tight-fitting lid will remain effective up to two months. (Label jar so you won’t confuse it with your homemade moonshine.) Overnight, soak cuttings you wish to root. Or water soil into which you have planted your cuttings with the willow water. Two applications should be sufficient. Some cuttings root directly in a jar of willow water. Make a fresh batch for each use. You can also use lukewarm water and let twigs soak for 24-48 hours.

    Ilene Sternberg is a freelance writer and amateur gardener with a certificate of merit in ornamental plants from Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania and a former garden guide at Winterthur in Delaware.
  11. JaK,

    Rather than making "Willow Water" You can use Aloe Vera juice/gel/powder to get salicylic acid. This link to a paper on Aloe Vera (page 1602/Table 1) gives the low down on Aloe Vera including it's minerals, hormones, amino acids and such.

    Might be easier to source than harvesting willows.

  12. Chunk, thanks for the info. I was thinking since I have this one tree in my yard I would give it a try. It is always sending up sprouts all over the yard and I was figuring these might be good for making a brew along with the tips. I could not verify if my species is effective, but since they say it is Salix, which mine (Acacia) is not, I was not going to risk it on any clones I might soon take.

    You guys have talked quote a bit about how good the aloe is, so I will stick to that.


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