Soil Conditioning - Humic Acid


Christina's Corner-  Newsletter #1


Christina Cole


  January 7, 2019


For me, the beginning of a New Year means planting the assortment of shrubs, grasses, and perennials that I have brought home over the previous few months. Not only do I have more time to devote to my landscape during the Winter months, it is also a great time to get many plants in the ground for a head-start on their root development.  During this season, the air and ground temperatures are not as stressful for plants as the warmer months can be. We are also usually receiving regular rainfall in the Winter, reducing the worry of new plantings drying out.

 In Arkansas, trees, shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses, and groundcovers can all be planted throughout most of the year, as long as the temperatures are not above 90 degrees or the ground is not frozen. Keep in mind, though, that working a wet or waterlogged soil is never recommended, as doing so will compact the soil particles tightly together. Air movement is just as important to a plant’s root development as water, since water follows those same air channels as it percolates through the soil - poor air flow equals poor drainage.

I highly recommend soil testing as the only way to really know your soil and what may be needed to bring it back to a state of fertility. You may purchase a soil test kit at many nurseries and test it yourself, or you can contact the Cooperative Extension Service for collection supplies and instructions. Cooperative Extension does perform this service without charge, but I urge you to get your samples to them as soon as possible, so that you will be able to move forward with their recommendations quickly.

 In 2019, I plan to focus more on building better soil in my beds, borders, and vegetable garden. I have always recommended mixing compost, supersoil, humus, peat moss, or other organic material with existing soil.  This year, I plan to make Humic Acid part of my routine. I have used it in the past for vegetables with excellent results, and I realize now that some of the issues I deal with in the landscape could have probably been avoided if I use it on these plants as well.

I will quickly touch on some of the essential functions of this amazing substance, but I encourage you to look further for more information, especially if you grow fruits or vegetables. Humic Acid stimulates root growth, increases nutrient uptake, regulates the pH value of soils, increases water-holding capacity, and improves overall soil structure.  It also stimulates the activity and growth of soil organisms which our plants depend on for health and development, while also working to remove toxins and salt build-up from the soil. Humic Acid has the ability to return soil to the healthy, balanced, and organized process that nature has perfected over millennia.

Here’s to a happy, healthy New Year with abundant growth and happy soil! I wish you much success in the garden this year!


-Christina Cole