Understanding Humate: A Beginner's Guide

Discover the potential of your soil with humate, a natural soil amendment for plant health and fertility. This all-in-one guide gives you insights on this powerful additive, including its key benefits and simple application strategies to improve your lawn and garden.

Understanding Humate: A Beginner's Guide

Humate Basics

  • Humate is a natural substance that enhances soil fertility, structure and water-holding capacity. It's rich in humic substances like humins, humic acids and fulvic acids, which help create healthier and more productive plants.

  • Applying humic acid products to lawns and gardens facilitates higher seed germination rates, strengthens plant nutrition by increasing soil cation exchange capacity and promotes robust root growth, which is critical for overall plant vitality.

  • Effective soil management with humate improves soil aeration, combats soil compaction, and increases water retention, aiding in drought resistance. It should be balanced with other soil amendments and is available in various forms, such as granular or liquid.

What is humate?

gardening with humates

Humate is a soil amendment that enhances soil fertility and improves its structure and ability to retain water. This naturally-derived substance plays a crucial role in the production of soil humus, which boosts nutrient availability and activates microbial life in soil.

Beyond promoting healthy plant growth and higher yields, humate has advantages for the overall health of your soil. It aids in creating well-structured soils by supporting the aggregation of soil particles, increasing porosity and air circulation. As a result, roots grow stronger, leading to more vibrant blooms and stronger plants.

What is humate made of?

What makes humate such a unique soil additive? The answer lies in its main components, humic substances. These naturally occurring organic compounds are the result of long-term decomposition and transformation of soil organic matter.

The three elements that make up humic substances are humins, fulvic acids and humic acids. They all play crucial roles in enhancing plant health and improving soil conditions. They work to improve soil properties such as fertility and structure while promoting plant growth by aiding nutrient absorption. By incorporating products containing these essential ingredients into your lawn and gardening routine, you can take advantage of their many benefits.

Where does humate come from?

Humates come from the biological and chemical breakdown of animal and plant life and are found in soils, fresh water, and oceans. Premium humates are obtained from diverse sources including Leonardite Shale, peat, lignite and composts. These natural materials have a high concentration of humic substances, making them ideal for producing top-notch quality humates.

The process of extracting humates involves using alkaline extraction techniques to separate the desired components. It should be noted that the source can impact the quality of the resulting product - typically with around 8% fulvic acid present in Leonardite Shale-derived humates. Our products are made from a natural supply of humic acid material found in Coastal Georgia. The deposit is a unique natural blend of organic matter that was deposited in a bowl-shaped depression hundreds of thousands of years ago. You can learn more about our humate source here.

Humate and Cation Exchange Capacity

Healthy plant roots with improved soil structure

Humate has been shown to improve the cation exchange capacity of soil, which is important for providing necessary nutrients and retaining vital substances like water. Essentially, cation exchange capacity (CEC) refers to the soil’s ability to support plant growth by exchanging essential nutrients.

By replacing its own positively charged ions with those found naturally in the surrounding environment, such as nutrient-rich solutions from water or fertilizers, humates increase this storage capability significantly, resulting in plants having increased access to vital nutrients necessary for their healthy growth. As a result of improved nutrient availability in the environment surrounding plant roots when using humates, crop yields tend to be higher than they would without this supplement.You can learn more about CEC on our blog.

Creating Ideal Soil with Humate

Soil compaction and aeration

Through improving aeration, drainage, and reducing compaction in the soil, humate creates an ideal environment for optimal plant growth. It serves as a conditioner by binding together particles in the soil to create a looser texture that allows for better nutrient penetration and root development. This results in improved overall health of both plants and their surrounding environment through enhanced nutrient absorption during growth.

Combating Soil Compaction and Promoting Soil Aeration

Soil compaction can hinder plant growth by reducing soil volume and impeding root development. This is due to a decrease in porosity and nutrient flow within the soil. Applying humate can effectively address this issue by promoting better soil aeration, which allows for easier access of essential nutrients and water for plant roots.

Overall, healthy amounts of oxygen present within soils significantly contribute towards improving the health and vitality of plants as well as aiding in their overall growth process. As such, regular incorporation or application processes involving humates into our soils are highly recommended not only because they provide effective solutions against issues like compacted soils, but also because they also act positively on various other important aspects that promote optimal conditions necessary for sustained thriving plant life.

Increasing Water Holding Capacity for Drought Resistance

Humate improves soil's ability to hold water, even in sandy soils that have a low content of organic matter. The versatility of humate is evident in its effectiveness at increasing water retention not only in sandy soils but also in clay soils. This improved capacity plays a crucial role in helping plants withstand periods of drought by providing them with an additional reserve of moisture.

Integrating Humate into Your Lawn or Garden Strategy

humate application

While humate offers numerous benefits such as promoting seed germination, reducing nutrient runoff and acting as a water-retaining agent, it’s crucial to maintain balance when using this it. Excessive application may lead to acidic soil pH levels that can have adverse effects on plant growth.

Application Methods

Humate is available in both granular and liquid forms. The concentrated form of humate found in granules makes it ideal for applying directly to soil during planting or transplanting.

Alternatively, liquid humate offers convenience when acquiring, mixing, and using the product. It can be applied with ease through watering cans or mixed into potting soil for potted plants.

Using Humate with Other Soil Amendments

Utilizing humic acid alongside other soil amendments is crucial in achieving optimum results for your plants and soil. This balanced approach allows for the promotion of plant growth and proper nutrition. For example, compost is commonly used in conjunction with humate.

Leverage the Power of Humates with Southland Organics

Southland Organics has been providing humate-based natural products for various industries since 2009. Our line of humate-based products aims to restore soil fertility, improve plant health and contribute to sustainability in lawn, garden and agriculture practices.

Southland Organics caters to different sectors including poultry farming, lawn care and gardening as well as waste management by offering a wide range of humate-based solutions. These innovative products work at the molecular level, strengthening natural defenses and addressing microscopic issues.

Southland Organics' Molecular Solutions for Maximum Growth

For lawn and garden maintenance, Southland Organics offers a host of liquid humate products:

All of these products are based on humate, but each has a unique biological makeup to optimize for its specific purpose.

Real Help from Real People

At Southland Organics, we serve as more than just a provider of humate-based products. We are thrilled serve as your partner in maximizing growth and are committed to offering knowledgeable guidance on incorporating humate into your soil management plan.

For professional support, you can easily contact us by emailing success@southlandorganics.cpm or by using our online chat.


Humate is a powerful tool for fulfilling the potential of soil, promoting plant growth and nutrition, and optimizing both soil structure and water retention. Whether you are a home gardener or commercial farmer, incorporating humate into your approach to managing soil can bring significant advantages. By selecting quality humate products such as those offered by Southland Organics, in conjunction with other suitable amendments for your specific needs, you can achieve improved overall health of the soil along with stronger plant growth resulting in increased yields.

About The Author

Mike Usry

Mike Usry

This was written by Mike Usry, the President of Southland Organics. Mike is an entrepreneur and soil enthusiast with a passion for educating on agriscience-based topics to help business owners and homeowners alike grow plants, turf, poultry and more. Mike received his Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Georgia and his MBA from the University of South Florida. The combination of his education and experience has given him a deep understanding of both business and the science behind our products. Mike founded Southland Organics in 2009.

Learn more about Mike Usry

Isabella (Izy) Dobbins

Marketing Manager

This was edited by Isabella (Izy) Dobbins, Southland Organics' Marketing Manager. Izy has devoted her education and career to communicating science-related topics. With an enthusiasm for sharing accurate and honest content relating to science and agriculture, she ensures Southland Organics' publications are as informative as they are interesting. Izy graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in advertising, minors in both Spanish and environmental health science and a Certificate in Sustainability. She has been working at Southland Organics since 2021.

Learn more about Izy Dobbins

Izy Dobbins
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