Why and how do I use humates?
You may have already heard or read about humates more than once. You may even use them on your site with some success. But, given the fact that this fertilizer is relatively new, many beginners still need to discover humates.
And in this article, I want to share my experience of using this inexpensive and yet very effective substance for the growth and development of plants.
What are humates in fertilizer?
But, first of all, it is worth remembering a little theory. The word » humates «is consonant with the word» humus», and we have always known humus as a valuable substance in the earth, thanks to which plants grow well, flourish and bear fruit.
Humus on our site is formed as a result of decomposition of plant residues with the help of worms and all sorts of soil microorganisms. Ideally, we need to cover the surface of the garden plot as much as possible with fallen leaves, cut branches, needles and other «obsolete» plant materials, and the underground inhabitants themselves will turn all this into the same fertility after some time.
By doing this from year to year, we improve our soil, making it not only fertile, but also water- and air-intensive, which is, convenient for our plants. It is interesting that all chemicals, primarily introduced as fertilizers, thanks to humus (or rather humic acids) pass into a form available to plants (chelated). Or, if it is simpler-fertilize as much as you want with «mineral water» on the sand, it will not do anything, but on more or less fertile soil, the effect will be noticeable.
Everything is fine, but it takes time to create humus. How would you speed up the process? Scientists thought about it and came up with following. Relatively speaking, if you take a soil rich in humus( humic acids) and treat it with an alkali, then as a result of a chemical reaction, salts will fall out – the same humates. In fact, concentrated fertility is concentrated humus.
In practice, peat, coal, or other materials are treated with potassium or sodium alkali. Receiving potassium humate or sodium humate, respectively. There is some difference between them. For example, not all plants appreciate sodium, and some of them, on the contrary.
It is believed that sodium humate is an excellent preparation for increasing the resistance of plants to stress: unexpected frosts, drought or flooding, severe frosts and diseases. And potassium humate has a more pronounced stimulating effect on plants.
«I use humic fertilizers to develop the root system».
Sometimes gardeners have not only to plant, but also replant trees and shrubs on their site. At the same time, no matter how hard you try, the root system is inevitably injured, in other words, it is partially cut off with a shovel when digging.
Moreover, the peripheral part suffers, where the bulk of the thin suction roots that provide nutrition to the plant are located. And if such damage is made in late spring or even summer, the chances of surviving of the plant is small.
That’s exactly what happened last summer. Neighbors, moving out from their house offered me from the bottom of their heart to dig up a couple of young seedlings — a pear and a plum, «as a souvenir», so to speak. June, the heat is just around the corner, but what to do? I dug it up, brought it home, and started thinking.
If planted immediately in the ground, even with watering, they are unlikely to take root. And then I remembered about the humates. Spread, according to the instructions, and soaked the root system for a day. During this time, I prepared large containers (seven-liter buckets with holes in the bottom), poured loose and fertile soil mix and planted seedlings, aboveground part is strongly (1/2) shortened.
Why did you put it in a container? I decided that I would put them in the shade, not far from the water, so there was a better chance. And it worked! But in addition to soaking before planting, I also once in 2 weeks fed them with a solution of humate.
Already in late autumn, it was clear that the trees, although they did not give growth, but were still alive. What was the surprise when, after pulling them out of the container, I found a fairly good root system, and from small thin, light roots that could be lost. Seedlings were planted in the open ground and last year already gave an increase.
So, stimulating the development of the root system is one of the most important and useful properties of humates. It is believed that in potassium humate is more pronounced, but I have tried in this role the sodium humate and it works, too.
For cuttings. I like to propagate plants in a vegetative way, rooting cuttings and layering. In the case of cuttings, they are also soaked for a few (5-6) hours in a solution of humate, and then stuck in the «cuttings». And again, once every 2 weeks, in addition to the main watering with water, I pour a solution of humate. Rooting is faster and friendlier.
For the growth of the aboveground part of the plant. Sometimes I bought young seedlings, say roses, hydrangeas, do not want to grow at all, as they say, «sit still». They are alive, but they do not give growth. Again, I breeding humate, according to the instructions, and shed such seedlings. After a week or two, you can see the effect.
How do I use humates? For sure, many readers have a natural question, and what concentration to use? The fact is that there is a large assortment of humates on the market, and the correct answer is the one that I have already announced — according to the instructions. Stronger solutions of potassium humates can be used for soaking seeds before sowing, and weaker ones — for foliar feeding on leaves, including seedlings. Of course, it is worth understanding that humates, although they are called concentrated fertility, do not replace fertility in any way. But they allow the plant to comfortably absorb what is in the land on your site and what you contribute as fertilizer.