Soil First Foliars

At EarthWorks, we believe that the health of the soil is imperative in producing quality turf and by promoting the health of the soil, we can reduce inputs.

Since the conception of EarthWorks in 1988, we’ve believed that both granular and liquid products are important tools to build a good carbon profile in the soil. Granulars build the base and liquids provide the versatility and soluble carbon to keep microbial populations active in the root zone.


What is Foliar Feeding?


Liquids have been a key part of successful turf managers’ fertility programs for some time now. Since effective chelation technologies were developed in the early 1990s, cleaner and easier to use liquid products have become available to Superintendents. Along with liquid fertilizers came the idea of “foliar feeding”— the concept of feeding nutrients into the plant through the surface of the leaves.

Years of extensive soil tests have supported our belief that a strong liquid program delivers to the plant what the soil cannot easily provide. However, we also know that as much as 80% of liquids sprayed on low cut turf rolls past the blade of grass into the root zone, becoming unavailable for foliar uptake.

To maximize nutrient availability, we worked to build the Soil First Foliars line of liquids to provide nutrients to the plant through the leaf ; and beyond that, through the soil. The soluble carbon in these products stimulates the microbial population in the soil to activate nutrient uptake and build a healthier soil.


The Key Is Quality Humic Acids

“Humic Substances are the dark colored substances that remain after the natural biodegradation of biomatter, and whose distinct characteristics are their relative resistance to further biodegradation and highly heterogeneous molecular structure. They play critical roles in ecosystem function and health.” – HPTA


The most important aspect of our Soil First Foliars is our proprietary humic acid complex developed in part by Lawrence Mayhew.

Mr. Mayhew was instrumental in the formation of the Humic Products Trade Association (HPTA), which is dedicated to promoting truth in marketing regarding humic acid claims and enforcing standards of quality. We feel very strongly that with the help of the HPTA, EarthWorks has the strongest humic acid complex available

Originally called “snake oils”, humic acids may be one of the most misunderstood materials in our industry. We now find humic acids used in many products including by a few large conventional synthetic fertilizer companies. Why? Because they work! However, we are also seeing many companies making claims that are not up to the standards established by the HPTA. Claims of larger percentages than possible, or claims in “derived from” statements that simply cannot be true, are prevalent.

Humic acids do not feed the plant but they do make feeding possible. They help with the uptake of phosphorous, nitrogen, potassium and trace elements by preventing nutrients from reacting in the soil or leaching out, making them more available. They also help manage and hold water in the root zone for the plant.

Humic acids help to flocculate the soil, and in fact, have been used by the oil drilling industry for years to help open the hole in front of their drill bits. They are very effective at promoting good root growth allowing roots to grow wider and deeper in the soil. A good humic acid complex just makes the soil work better!


The Benefits of Soil Testing


Most of the EarthWorks Soil First Foliars were developed based on a need discovered through the evaluation of thousands of soils tests run annually from across the country.

Our Soil First Foliars liquid products, CalVantage and MagVantage, were developed as a solution to consistent deficiencies of soluble calcium and magnesium identified in soluble soil tests. CalVantage and MagVantage include multiple forms of calcium and magnesium respectively as well as all the co-factors that allow the plant to take up these key nutrients when the plant needs them most.

Developing an EarthWorks product starts with water that comes from a reverse osmosis process, so there are no unwanted chemical interactions in our manufacturing. We use modern chelation technology to stabilize all the nutrients in the formula, and then wrap that with our proprietary humic acid complex and up to as many as 20 other carbon-based materials.

What this does is allow the leaf to hold nutrients for extended periods of time, but more importantly once in the soil, all that carbon stabilizes the nutrients, keeping them from reacting or leaching out. That carbon brings the microbes to the table, and they start feeding on the soluble carbon making the core nutrients more available, and the product more efficient.

The Soil First Foliars are the first liquid products in the industry that feed not only the plant, but maybe more importantly, they feed the soil. The EarthWorks 555 program uses five ounces per thousand square feet of turf of three products:

Trilogy – a phosphorous, potassium and trace nutrient product
Protein Plus – a complete nitrogen product
CalVantage – a formula that increases calcium mobility for better nutrition

This simple and cost-effective program allows our clients to produce quality turf. It yields deep roots, accelerated recovery and opulent color. Most significantly, it takes the highs and lows out of your fertility program.


A Deeper Respect

Members of the HPTA since 2016


Because of our respect for the professionals who nurture and maintain turf, we devote ourselves to engineering carbon-based products that help make their lives more rewarding and their work more fruitful.The company’s approach to Carbon Based Fertility allows Superintendents to produce quality turf.

For more information on the complete line of Soil First Foliars, please go to and contact one of our distribution partners.