Keyword Analysis & Research: definition of humus

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does humus mean?

Humus is dark, organic material that forms in soil when plant and animal matter decays. When plants drop leaves, twigs, and other material to the ground, it piles up. This material is called leaf litter. When animals die, their remains add to the litter. Over time, all this litter decomposes.

What is humus used for?

Humus significantly influences the texture of soil and contributes to moisture and nutrient retention. In agriculture, humus is sometimes also used to describe mature, or natural compost extracted from a forest or other spontaneous source for use to amend soil. It is also used to describe a topsoil horizon that contains organic matter.

What is the difference between humus and soil?

In wooded areas, the soil is naturally rich in humus and fertile whereas in areas with sparse vegetation, such as along the coastline or in the desert, the soil contains very little humus and is infertile. In most people’s yards, there is not a lot of vegetation left to natural decay that will produce humus.

What are the benefits of humus?

Humus contains many useful nutrients for healthy soil. One of the most important is nitrogen. Nitrogen is a key nutrient for most plants. Agriculture depends on nitrogen and other nutrients found in humus. Some experts think humus makes soil more fertile. Others say humus helps prevent disease in plants and food crops.

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