I'm not a chemist but I am trying to make a product to be used as a foliar spray on turfgrass for my own use. The product I'm trying to make is:

  • 12% Humic acid ($\mathrm{pH =}$ 3.5-4.0)
  • 2% Fulvic acid ($\mathrm{pH =}$ 9.6)
  • 6% Kelp extract
  • 0.5% Salicylic acid
  • 79.5% Water (local sourced water $\mathrm{pH }$ is 6.8-7.5)

I'd like to make this in $\pu{19L ( 5 gal.)}$ batches.

The humic, fulvic acids and the kelp extract are all soluble in the solution already, so that's the easy part. What I'm looking for is how to dissolve the salicylic acid so that it can be combined with the other ingredients.

The advice I've been given for dissolving the salicylic acid is to first dissolve in ethanol. Add $\ce{KOH}$ to water until I get a $\mathrm{pH}$ of 12, then add the dissolved salicylic acid to the water.

What I'd like to know is:

  1. Is this the right process?
  2. What quantities of salicylic acid/ethanol/$\ce{KOH}$/water should I be using?
  3. Will adding this mixture to my mixture of humic/fulvic/kelp have any negative effect on any of the ingredients?
  4. Any safety concerns beyond the exothermic reaction of $\ce{KOH}$?
  • $\begingroup$ Could you mention the purpose of this exercise? I feel that using KOH/ EtOH will burn your grass. $\endgroup$ – M. Farooq Jan 31 '20 at 4:02
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    $\begingroup$ This will be a concentrate that will be applied at 89ml per 100sq.m. and diluted in water. The KOH/EtOH will be diluted enough to not burn. I am replicating several products together. $\endgroup$ – Greg Burghall Jan 31 '20 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ I would say stick to natural things for plants. I have heard kelp is good for plants. Even better ask a professional horticulturist or special forum. $\endgroup$ – M. Farooq Jan 31 '20 at 5:49
  • $\begingroup$ The humic acid, fulvic acid and kelp are great for plants. Salicylic acid is great as well, studies have shown it helps with heat stress. I'm looking for a way to put it into solution as it is not very water soluble. $\endgroup$ – Greg Burghall Jan 31 '20 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ Salicylic acid dissolves @ 2g /L at 20 oC in water. This is a $lot$. You will have to agitate very well. Secondly, fulvic acid solution, which is at pH 9.6 will easily dissolve it. Read all safety datasheets. $\endgroup$ – M. Farooq Jan 31 '20 at 15:24