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Humic Shale: What Is It and What Does It Do?


It's Colloidal

  Humic shale is an excellent organic lawn fertilizer.  Nothing is better for a natural lawn.
Humic shale was created by the decomposition (composting) and compaction of prehistoric plant material over 75-million years old. During the decomposition process, plant material is pre-digested by microorganisms, resulting in a rich black spongy layer of decayed organic material called compost or humus. Humus is both a soil conditioner and a plant nutrient.

The decomposed plant matter that has been converted into humic shale contains at least 72 trace minerals that can make your soil healthier by feeding plants and the microorganism that keep the soil healthy. These minerals had previously been extracted from the soil by living plants and incorporated into their bodies in a colloidal form – a very small molecule that can pass through the cells walls – as the plants grew. Once the plants died and decayed, the nutrients were released and stored in the compost. They are now available in the humic shale in an ideal form for new plants to use. Because they are still in colloidal form, plants can uptake the trace minerals quickly. 
To summarize:
Humic  shale contains plant minerals which are digested or preassimilated by the minerals. The ‘quick response’ of this product is the direct result of the fact that a plant mineral was predigested which eliminates the time required for total dissolvement.

It's Polar (Charged)

An additional feature of this humic shale is that it is polar (charged), so it tends to attract and hold water. Because it has been pulverized, it has a large surface area to hold more water. Hence, its presence in the soil helps keep water near the roots of plants, allowing for a reduction in frequency of watering, or helping lower stress on plants during times of drought.

It's a Soil Conditioner

Humic shale is also a soil conditioner, much in the same way that humus itself is. In compacted clay soils, it opens up tiny pore spaces between clay platelets, so soil can hold more oxygen and roots can “breathe.” In sandy soils, it acts like tiny sponges, filling up the relatively large pore spaces between grains of sand, holding water and nutrients close to plant roots so they do not dry out as fast.

It's a Soil Builder

Many people in nutritional and agronomy fields predict humic shale ore will eventually change the farming and eating habits of the world. Slowly, but surely, humic shale is being recognized as an excellent soil builder to replace minerals in mineral deficient soils.

Benefits of Humic Shale Soil Amendments vs. Synthetic Chemical Alternatives

  The best organic fertilizer is humic shale. Organic fertilizer sales are available here.

Still not convinced our A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS natural fertilizer products are for you?  Here are some additional benefits to consider.  When properly applied by yourself or a professional service, our natural-based fertilizers offer the following advantages:

  • They Work! 
    Our A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS products have been used on home lawns and landscapes, municipal properties, and agricultural land for more than 18 years and have been shown time and again to improve soil conditions, increase plant vigor and growth, and not harm the environment.  Numerous scientific papers have been written about the use of humic shale as a fertilizer product. The bottom line is, our products work!
  • They improve the health and growth of plants as well as increase seed germination rates and produce stronger seedlings.  Because A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS natural fertilizers meet a plant’s nutritional needs for trace minerals and other elements in a gentle, time-release formulation, it naturally strengthens plant root systems, increases yield and sugar content of fruits and vegetables, and provides for faster turf and plant recovery after mowing, pruning, or other damage.  Furthermore, because the humic shale has high ion-exchange capacity, it allows for better retention and utilization of the fertilizer at the root of the plants, and prevents leaching away of nutrients at the root zone.
  • They help bind up organic pesticides in the soil resulting from chemical weed & feed products, thereby preventing these chemicals from leaching into the water supply
    Because humic acid is highly polar and electron deficient, it tends to bind up large organic molecules such as synthetic pesticides in the soil.  This helps prevent runoff and facilitates breakdown of the pesticides by microbes.  Many agricultural operations routinely apply humic shale after spraying pesticides, letting them work in order to prevent the chemicals from migrating off the land via irrigation and runoff.
  • They help promote natural decomposition
    By supplying nutrients that soil micro- and macro-organisms need to survive, our A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS products help the natural food web do its work to decompose dead plant and animal matter in the soil, making these nutrients bio-available for plants to uptake through their roots.  In the case of lawns, this means that mechanical thatching is not required once the health of grass is improved, since micro- and macro-organisms will digest the thatch naturally.  Additionally, in the case of our A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS Soil Science products, which also contain soil bacteria, we provide additional natural soil microbes and nutrients to enhance decomposition in soils that may be poor and/or lacking in organic matter.
  • They avoid runoff issues, so they are soil- and water-friendly. 
    Because our products are comprised of humic shales – composted (predigested) plant matter from the Cretaceous Era that has since become hardened into stone – it will not chemically burn or kill soil-building microorganisms the way synthetic chemical fertilizers can.  In fact, unlike many synthetic fertilizer products, watering immediately after application is not required to prevent burning of lawns and plants, but neither will watering (or a natural rain) cause the products to dump excess nutrients into the soil, stormdrains, ponds, lakes, streams, or the watershed.  They are naturally time-released, so plants get needed nutrients at just the right time.
  • They provide nutrients that are naturally time-released. 
    Just like many synthetic fertilizers that use sophisticated time-release technology to liberate nutrients for plants over the growing season, our A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS products release slowly, so nutrients are neither wasted nor washed into groundwater, lakes, or streams.  This makes our products much safer to use near waterways and helps protect your financial investment.
  • They are natural products, not synthetically derived or packaged with pesticides
    Our A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS products contain no herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides or other toxic synthetic ingredients.  Neither do they contain any manure or animal by-products.  Finally, no binders or inert ingredients are added to our formulations, so all of the product you purchase goes to improving soil and plant health.
  • They improve the water-holding capacity of the soil
    Because the humic shale from which all our products are made is polar (charged), it naturally attracts and holds water.  Since the shale is pulverized, it has higher surface area (more active sites to attract water) than products with larger particles and smaller surface area.  Because it increases soil’s water-holding capacity, it may help reduce the cost of watering / irrigation.  In addition, plants fertilized with humic shale resist drought and stress more effectively, thereby producing better yields in areas where rainfall or irrigation may otherwise be insufficient to meet plant needs.
  • They help condition & aerate problem soils
    Our granular A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS products help improve the health and vitality of plants by conditioning the soil and changing its structure.  In hard clay soils, which retain too much water, the highly negative charge of our products causes clay platelets to flocculate and push away from the humic shale particle.  This helps make the clay more friable, breaking it up and creating pore spaces to hold oxygen for plant roots and microorganisms, while also improving drainage.  In drying sandy soils, which have trouble holding moisture, the polar, hydrophilic nature of our products cause them to grab onto and bind up water so more moisture is held near the roots, and plants can go longer without watering.
  • They help prevent or mitigate compaction of fine soils and promote better soil drainage
    Crushing of fine soils pushes oxygen out of pore spaces between clay and silt platelets.  Plant roots and microorganisms need oxygen to “breathe,” so compacted soil supports less life.  Compacted soil is also harder for plant roots to penetrate, so roots stay shallow and need frequent watering, which can lead to plant failure and erosion.  Addition of humic shale helps increase the cohesive forces between soil particles so they form larger aggregates that are less likely to blow away wind or float away during rain or irrigation.  Improvement of soil texture or crumb also helps improve the workability of the soil, which is beneficial when planting and growing turf, gardens, and crops.
  • They make trace minerals available in the topsoil
    Plants that have very deep root systems, which can penetrate down into the subsoils, naturally have an advantage in accessing trace minerals.  But plants with shallower root systems that grow in the top 6 inches of soil must compete with all the other plants and animals in the soil to access trace minerals.  In soils that have been chemically fertilized or have been extensively farmed, these trace minerals have been used up and are no longer available to plants.  But our A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS products replenish the soil’s natural mineral reserves, thereby helping promote deeper, healthier root growth as well.
  • They help temporarily buffer pH of soils
    The pH of our products helps temporarily buffer soil , mitigating problems with soils that are too alkaline or too acidic.  In fact, the products are very helpful for tying up salts in soils that have had high exposure.
  • They make plants hardier
    Because our A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS products supply more than 70 vital nutrients and minerals, they help promote stronger, deeper root growth (for food storage) and healthier leaves and stems (to make food).  These nutrients also help plants carry out normal metabolic processes.  Over time, that means the plants have healthier immune systems to fight pests and disease and adapt to changing climate conditions.
  • They help hold moisture in the soil
    The polar (charged) nature of the humic acid molecule and the electron-deficient nature of its carbon component attract water, which is also polar.  The high surface area of the pulverized humic acid means there are more active sites on aggregates to bind with water. By improving the structure of loose soils, helping bind water near plant roots, our A-1 ORGANIC LAWNS products hold water where it is needed most by plants.  This helps reduce the frequency and duration of required waterings, reducing water bills and saving you time. 

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