Seaweed extracts (SWE) and humic acids (HA) are far from the novel tools that they were 20 years ago. Many turf managers and crop growers know firsthand the benefits that they can provide. Over the last 15 or 20 years, researchers have documented these benefits, especially as they relate to stress tolerance and better recovery from stress.

Even though we are much more aware of the benefits than we were years ago, the reasons for better plant activity are difficult to pinpoint. We can speculate that improved plant health is the result of exogenous additions of cytokinins, auxins, polyamines, or betaines. Maybe it’s the sugar-like compounds, such as mannitol.  Some even speculate that better health results from the many minerals that are found in SWE and humic acids.  For the turf manager, it probably makes sense to focus on the “what” instead of the “why.”

Fortunately, modern science has been up to the task and has been able to explain tangible benefits related to applications of seaweed and humic acids. Here are some of the advantages that have been identified in various unbiased research studies.

  • The production of superoxide dismutase, a plant-made (endogenous) anti-oxidant, was increased with the regular applications of SWE and HA.
  • Photochemical activity, basically a measurement of active chlorophyll, is also enhanced.
  • Visual quality is improved when turf receives applications of SWE and HA.
  • Some studies demonstrate better rooting with either SWE or HA applications
  • Other studies demonstrate SWE and/or HA improve heat, drought, or salt tolerance.
  • And occasionally researchers showed that these biostimulant applications result in less disease incidence.

There is one other very interesting trend, which has been exposed from the many studies that have been conducted on turfgrass as well as many other plant subjects. HA and SWE applications applied separately have resulted in positive plant responses. However, when SWE and HA are applied in combination, results are significantly improved over either of the treatments alone.

Foliar-Pak Promote, formulated with generous levels of both SWE and HA, takes advantage of the combined effects of these two carbon sources. This combination, as well as the surfactant, complex sugars, and other additives in Promote, combine to make it the premier bio-nutrient product for plant health, rooting and stress reduction.

Promote is a foundation product in Foliar-Pak programs, providing great stress protection in summer and improved rooting in spring and autumn.

Curt Geron
Director of Sales, EnP Investments, LLC