Organic matter is derived from the decomposition of plant and animal residues such as harvested agricultural crops; plant vegetation like grass clippings and leaves; animal manures; or even human food residues such as garbage. Organic decomposition, carried out by billions of micro-organisms, is all part of nature’s own recycling process.
The result of decomposition is humus, the primary component of soil organic matter. Humus is a rich source of essential nutrients. The nutrients are made available slowly as required by plants for vigorous growth, without loss or wastage into the environment. Humus also contributes to soil quality by improving its physical structure, and its water and nutrient holding capacity.
Soil biological activity requires humus to continue the process of decomposition and recycling of valuable nutrients. When soil is biologically healthy, it also contributes to the suppression of plant and soil disease.
Because organic matter (humus) is consumed during the growing season to produce lawns, gardens, landscaping and agricultural crops, it must be systematically renewed, hence, the reason for natural organic fertilizers.
Organic matter cannot be manufactured synthetically. Synthesized fertilizers supply nutrients. Organic fertilizers not only supply nutrients, they benefit the soil.
The benefits from natural organic fertilizers in plant response are greater than its value in terms of plant nutrients alone. Long term effects on soil fertility, physical conditions and soil biology account for the added value attributed to the organic matter.
Adapted from www.bradfieldturf.ca