April 2013 Blog



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Have ever wondered why your neighbor’s yard looks so good?  It’s probably because they have Lawnscapes taking care of their lawn.  For over a decade we have been the leader in safe effective lawn care in the magic valley.  Our highly trained technicians use the highest quality fertilizers and always apply them using state of the art equipment and following strict safety practices.

Research and Benefits
of Humic Acid

Humic acid (H/A) is one of the most important components of organic matter. It is an organic bio-stimulant that contains three very important components: Humic Acids, Fulvic Acids and Humin. It has many uses and has become very popular in organic lawn care and organic gardening. However, few people really know what it is or what it does.

The Benefits Of Adding Humates

Plants and microorganisms in soil benefit from applications of H/A in several ways. It has shown to stimulate root growth, increase carbohydrate production, have a hormone-like affect within the plant, and increase soil microorganisms. It has shown to be a great addition to your outdoor plant care when used correctly.

The soils that will benefit the greatest are those low in organic matter, such as clay or sandy soils. Products that have the highest concentrations of humic acids will provide the most benefit. Be aware that many products sold have very low concentrations that will provide little noticeable affect.

Conditions That Provide The Best Benefit:

    Soils, gardens or planters throughout the world that are low in organic matter will benefit the most. It is like having the benefits of organic matter without having an adequate amount. Warm temperatures are required for the highest activity.
    Southern U.S. or in tropical, humid climates where organic matter decomposes rapidly due to high moisture and high soil temperatures.
    Warm arid climates where production of organic matter is limited.

Facts About Humates/Humic Acid

Studies about humic acid have been increasing since it was discovered in the 1800's. However, not all humic products are made equally. The oldest natural humic materials, such as leonardite coal, will contain the highest quality. Look for products that states where the source is from.

Humic substances are dark brown in color and are the bio-chemically active ingredients of soil organic matter. They are created when soil microorganisms break down organic materials.

The word “humates” is sometimes used interchangeably with H/A. Various marketing schemes have attached the word to most every organic substance, but it actually applies to substance containing naturally occurring humic deposits.

Humic acid is not a fertilizer and will not burn, although some manufacturers will add nitrogen. Adding nitrogen is not a bad thing and will also benefit the plants. However, don't confuse the quick acting effects of nitrogen with the effects of humic acid. Humates work differently in the plant. Products with higher concentrations of humic acid will obtain better results.

The following are some examples of materials containing humic deposits:

    Humates obtained from well decomposed peats, leonardite coal, lignite and brown coal.
    Composted seaweed.
    Almost any organic waste material that can be composted.

One of the richest sources of natural humates is from leonardite coal deposits in the Western deserts of the U.S..

Note: Not all composts are created equally. This means that not all organic matter contains desirable amounts of humic acid, fulvic acid and humin. The percent of humic substances in dry organic matter can range from 1.5% to over 75%. The materials that contain these in the greatest amounts are considered the best.

Liquid humic acid products will have both humic acid and fulvic acid. The average liquid product will have less than one (1) percent to twelve (12) percent by dry weight. The few liquid products that contain more than 12 percent are best.

Products containing low amounts of humic substances will give short term affects at best. If the product has too low of an amount there won't be enough to provide micronutrient chelation. Always look for the products containing the highest percent of H/A.
Effects of Humic Acid

    Increased nutrient content of soil.
    Increases soil fertility.
    Stimulates soil microorganisms with more efficient breakdown of organic matter.
    Increases the moisture holding capacity of soil.Chelation (means to "bind" or "hold on to") of micronutrients, especially iron, so that it can be used by plants.
    Increased photosynthesis and chlorophyll concentrations.

Other effects that can be attributed to organic humates.

    Stimulated root growth.
    Increase in shoot and blade production.
    May increase seed germination rates. However, there has not been a significant increase in actual field studies.

Again. applying a product that contains low amounts of humic substances will not likely provide satisfactory results. However, soils that are very low in organic matter will have the best results. Remember, the higher the quality and the amount a product contains, the better it will be for your lawn and plants.


Turfgrass Soil Fertility and Chemical Problems - Assessment and Management (R.N. Carrow/D.V. Waddington/P.E.Rieke)

Less Maintenance more Savings

Less Maintenance, More Savings
Though water conservation is one of the main benefits of xeriscaping, a lot of financial advantages can be reaped from this landscape as well. One of the biggest reasons to invest in "dry design" is not only because it is environmentally sound and aesthetically pleasing, but it also brings you big savings. You no longer have to fight the climate and force your lawn to act unnaturally. By giving into the landscape itself, you're on the winning side of a losing battle. Preserving water isn't just a smart thing to do; it saves you money on bills. You also don't have to fertilize as much. There is less of a need for pest control and expensive chemicals. There will be less maintenance, less pruning, and no more wasteful trimmings. All of this will help save the environment while saving you time, effort, and money.

But, in order for it to be successful, there are certain preparations that

need to be made. You'll probably need to work with a professional landscape designer to get it done right the first time, but here are some things to always keep in mind.

Appropriate Planting
First, any quality xeriscaping will need the right kinds of plants. Typically, these are native species that require less water and can withstand the heat. Although you want drought-tolerant plants, it doesn't mean they all have to be cactus and yucca. In fact, there are many types of tough desert lawns, turfs, and flowers that grow bright and colorful. Buy plants that can be deeply rooted and are bred to endure harsh climates. Also, as you install your vegetation, make sure that you plant in groupings for better wa

ter efficiency.

Water Conservation
Conserving water is important, whether it's your choice or the government's. Buying plants that require less moisture will help, but there are other ways to preserve as well. First, try to invest in a drip-irrigation system. This sprinkler system runs along pipes throughout your lawn and slowly drips water directly onto the vegetation. It acts as a gentle rainfall or a dewy morning. This not only cuts down on wasteful inaccuracy (no need to water your home's siding and driveway) and over-watering, it also prevents immediate evaporation into the air by high winds. But if you do use traditional sprinklers, make sure to water in the mornings or evenings when the soil is more primed to soak up moisture.

Soil Conservation
Desert soil is naturally impervious to water conservation. It quickly soaks it up, dries it out, and lifts if back into the atmosphere. An easy solution is mulching as much as possible. It cool

s off the ground, holds water, and cuts down on energy bills and maintenance costs. But you can also plan bigger projects, such as re-structuring your soil so that plants can retain any moisture for a longer period of time. It's not ea

sy, nor cheap, but once you've put time and energy into the initial investment, you'll get a return on your money in no time.

One Last Tip
Though xeriscaping is a very popular trend in dry climates (such as the West and Southwest) it may not be as common or successful in other areas of the country. Therefore, check with your neighbors and homeowner's association to see if this re-design is allowed. But even if desert landscaping itself isn't permitted, the philosophy behind the design is still applicable. If you live in the Midwest or Northeast, match your yard to fit your region's natural landscape and climate. Succumbing to the natural world, no matter where you live, will lead to less work and bigger savings.