Is Humus and Humic Acid snake-oil??

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Shohin
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In regards to improving your garden/ground soil, clay soil or soil that is old, compacted and/or deprived of organic matter... is humus and humic-acid snake-oil?

According to this video, it is snake-oil:

Or, is she just a hater or trying to prove her horticultural knowledge?
 

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Shohin
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At the end of the video, she contradicts herself and says, "yes, of course it works, because it does indeed add Cationic-exchange-capacity (CEC), to let's say sandy soils"

...then also says at the end of the video, the reason for her really disliking/unbelieving in it is because "it's unethical" (because mined) and isn't truly 100% organic, companies lie it's organic and it is prowcessed and made in a lab like chemical ferts.

Unethical ≠ that it doesn't work or isn't effective

Unethical = personal/political views on mining coal, renewable materials, company integrity, etc.

Not 100% organic and is processed ≠ same, that it doesn't work or isn't effective

...so her argument and points are a bit misleading and tries to confuse the audience. She sounds more about ethics and political views, rather than how it works.


I see her point in it being mined, comes from coal, and is processed in a lab. But, "organic" can also mean that at one point in time (albeit far back in time) it was once a living thing... and carbon and coal was once living thousands of years ago.

Iirc, some products and ferts that have a lot of humic-acids in them never even state "Organic" on their labels anyways, and even state in their FAQ that their products aren't organic. eg: Gro Power products.
But, The Andersons brand def do state "Organic" in their listings.
 

Forsoothe!

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Life on Earth is a carbon-based system. If it's carbon, it's been alive. Leonardite is almost always strip mined, being low density & soft because it isn't as old as harder coals, nor buried as deep. It becomes a higher grade of coal over time and under the pressure of being buried deeper. If it is buried really deep, for a really long time, and subject to great heat it becomes diamond. Humate is the portion of the material Leonardite that is purer carbon and it is nothing more, and nothing less, than the humus that make soil black. It's available as Leonardite, or Menefee Humate and a few other trade names and varies according to the mix of minor and/or trace elements. It is what you can add to pure mineral soil, also know as sand or clay depending upon particle size, to make a "top soil". Only a moron opposes its use in agg or hort.
 

Maiden69

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That's one of the threads by Curtis where he explains a little bit. I can tell you that adding humic (HumicDG) to my lawn made a world of difference here in TX. It was advertised by this guy, when he started advertising it was very educational, now it feels just as an infomercial, but the company producing the products is well known for their professional line. They still have that product, but they added the HumiChar to their list, that one includes biochar, but instead of the chunks you usually get, it dissolves into smaller particles attaching to the soil particles individually.
 

penumbra

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There is little doubt today that these things work and that once they bordered on witchcraft. Collectively humankind tends to be very obtuse. My comment about snake oil having a possible (and likely) use is tongue in cheek and at the same time a poke in the eye. Agnosticism is healthy but denial is arrogant and often fatal, if not too the body, at least to the mind. Most people are familiar with Clark's third law but not his second law:
Clarke's Second Law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
Stir the water a bit and it will be muddy. If you have the patience you see see it clear.
 

penumbra

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For those who do not know Clark's Laws:
Clarke's First Law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
 

Adam D

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I've had noticeable results this season using Gro-Power, a 12-8-8 Fert with Humic Acid vs Ferts without Humic Acid. From what I understand Humic Acid helps the plant up-take more nutrients from the soil.
 

Bonsai Nut

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As in everything soil related, it depends what you start with. Crappy clay soils and the addition of humic acid will likely show huge benefits. A good bonsai mix in a pot, with good water and organic fertilizer, and humic acid will show little/no benefit, because the problems it addresses/resolves are not present.

Just because humic acid makes your garden tomatoes super green does not necessarily mean it is needed for your bonsai. That is why the title of this thread is improper - because the question of humic acid is not answered with a strict "yes it works" or "no it is snake oil". Probably the reason why there are varying opinions on its use is because people were using it in different situations and therefore getting different results.
 

hemmy

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If it is buried really deep, for a really long time, and subject to great heat it becomes diamond.
On a tangent, this is a common misconception on the origin of diamonds. While ultra deep burial of coal could hypothetically provide the source carbon for diamonds, it has never been documented. In fact, the vast majority of all diamonds are sourced from the mantle and non-biological sources of carbon. A few rare cases have documented very small diamonds in deeply subducted oceanic crust, possibly originating from carbonate rocks (limestone).

 

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