A green lawn outside of a house on a sunny day.

What Is Humic Acid and How Does It Benefit Your Lawn?

Is your lawn looking less than perfect? Is the grass turning pale, going brown, or getting thinner? Incorporating humic acid into your lawn care may solve your dilemma.

Let’s talk about humic acid and its effect on your lawn.

What to Know About Humic Acid and Its Effect on Lawns

What Is Humic Acid?

We all know that contact with chemicals containing acids, like ammonia and drain cleaners, can result in burns. So, applying something to the lawn with acid in its name may sound a little scary.

But humic acid isn’t like your typical harmful acid. You can think of it more along the lines of orange juice—it’s a bit acidic but generally good for you.

Humic acid is defined as complex molecules naturally present in soil, oceans, fresh water, and peat. These are the final remains of organic matter, primarily animal and plant material. They are brown in color and high in weight.

How Does Humic Acid Work?

Like humans, your lawn grass needs food and water to survive and thrive. It gets the minerals and nutrients it needs through its leaves and roots.

Unfortunately, there’s a little problem when it comes to absorbing nutrients through the roots. Roots are static, which means they cannot go around to forage for food. They can only absorb the nutrients next to them. So, when the plant uses up all the minerals and nutrients surrounding the roots, it won’t be able to get what it needs to stay healthy and thrive.

This is where humic acid comes in. Humic acids act as chelating agents. In simple terms, they attract or encapsulate certain minerals, so they stay where they should be—near the root of the plants, even when it rains. Therefore, there will be enough minerals for plants to take up when needed.

In addition, humic acid is very effective at improving soil fertility. This is mainly because humic acids physically modify the structure of the soil, chemically change its fixation properties, and biologically stimulate the activities of microorganisms.

Why Does Your Lawn Need Humic Acid?

Humic acids, as mentioned above, exist naturally in soils. Unfortunately, many human activities, like the constant application of inorganic fertilizers and annual plowing, deplete the content of the soil.

Since lawns often have disturbed soil, there is likely not enough humic acid available. While some lawn care services like mulching provide soil microbes with the materials to make humic acid, it won’t be enough. It is actually impossible to restore a healthy amount of humus naturally in a short period. That is why you must replace the humus using other sources, which in this case are humic acid products.

What Are Humic Acid Products, and Where Do They Come From?

Some people mistake humic acid products for fertilizer. But it’s important to note that these products help improve your garden soil instead of providing your lawn grass with a nutrient boost. And when the soil becomes more fertile, your grass can grow better.

Humic acid products can be sourced from different natural materials. One common source is leonardite, a soft, coal-like substance rich in humic acid. Leonardite is mined from ancient peat deposits. Another source of humic acid is lignite, a type of low-grade coal. Lignite contains a significant amount of humic acid and is mined from underground or open-pit mines.

Note that not all humic acid products are created equal. The quality and concentration of humic acid vary depending on the source and processing methods. It’s recommended to choose products that have undergone quality testing and are produced by reputable manufacturers.

What Are the Benefits of Humic Acid?

Applying humic acid in lawn soil offers many benefits, like the following:

Increase Nutrient Uptake

Humic acid has a high cation exchange capacity (CEC), which means it can attract and hold onto essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It prevents nutrient leaching and makes them more readily available for plant uptake. As a result, your lawn receives a steady supply of nutrients, leading to improved overall health and appearance.

Better Soil Structure

Humic acid acts as a natural soil conditioner. It helps the soil loosen and crumble, which results in better soil aeration and workability. It makes the soil darker so it can absorb the sun’s energy better. In addition, it prevents soil cracking, erosion, and surface runoff.

Water Retention

Humic acid acts as a sponge, absorbing and retaining moisture, reducing water runoff, and minimizing the risk of soil erosion. This increased water-holding capacity provides a buffer against drought conditions, ensuring that the lawn has a steady supply of moisture. By improving water retention, humic acid helps promote healthy plant growth and supports the overall vitality and resilience of the lawn.

pH Balance Regulation

Maintaining an optimal pH level is crucial for healthy plant growth. Humic acid helps regulate the soil’s pH level, preventing it from becoming too acidic or alkaline. When the pH is neutral, nutrients are readily available to the grass. Hence, it minimizes the risk of nutrient deficiencies or toxicities.

Enhanced Microbial Activity

Humic acid stimulates the growth and activity of beneficial microorganisms in the soil, such as bacteria and fungi. These microorganisms aid in breaking down organic matter, releasing nutrients, and improving soil fertility. The presence of humic acid fosters a thriving soil ecosystem, promoting a healthy lawn.

Stress Tolerance

Humic acid enhances the natural defense mechanisms of plants, making them more resistant to environmental stressors like drought, extreme temperatures, and disease. It activates plant enzymes and stimulates root development, helping your lawn withstand adverse conditions and recover quickly.

If you want a healthy and pristine lawn, you must ensure the soil is in its best condition. Applying humic acid is one step toward more fertile soil that can support the optimal growth of your lawn.

Humic Acid FAQs

How Much Humic Acid Should I Add to the Soil?

Humic acid does not harm the lawn, no matter how much you add to the soil. But you don’t want to apply too much of the product either because you’ll end up wasting it. You may only need 1 to 2 pounds per hundred square feet of soil. Humic acid products typically have label recommendations, but you can ask your lawn care maintenance provider to help you get the best and fastest results without being wasteful.

As far as the result is concerned, it is important to note that humic acid is not a fertilizer, so you don’t see results quickly. You can only see the immediate result if you add humic acid to the soil after spreading fertilizer.

When Should I Put Humic Acid on My Lawn?

The ideal timing for applying humic acid to your lawn depends on the specific needs of your grass and soil, as well as the climate in your region.

Generally, it’s beneficial to apply humic acid in the spring or fall when the grass is actively growing. These periods allow humic acid to work its way into the soil and provide long-lasting benefits. However, you can also apply humic acid during other times of the year as needed or when the lawn shows signs of stress.

How Do I Choose the Best Experts in Lawn Care Near Me?

If you’re looking for an expert to take care of your lawn, make sure to consider their experience, reputation, customer reviews, range of services offered, and knowledge of local conditions.

If you’re looking for a reliable lawn care company in Bolton and GTA, please feel free to contact LawnMart. The team only uses organic products that are also 100% pet friendly, ensuring your lawn stays healthy and safe for everyone.

Michael Schäfer

President – LawnMart Inc.

Years of Experience: 31 Years

  • Land Class 1 and 3 Licenses Since 1993
  • Pest Control Operator License Since 1995
  • PIC Accredited Pest Technician Examiner Since 2004
  • Biting Flies Control License Since 2020

Michael Schäfer is President and Founder of LawnMart Inc. After training privately under Dr. Larry Whiddell of Ohio State University, he became a Lawn Technician at Barefoot Grass Lawn Services (1993) and leveled up to Tree/Shrub Care Manager before taking over all Canadian operations as Area Manager. In 1996, Michael founded LawnMart Inc., which has since grown into a multi-award-winning company that cares for thousands of lawns in the Golden Horseshoe area.