The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening Science - Soils, Manure and the Environment
Chapter: Chapter 2: Manure

Magnesian limestone

Previous - Next

1313. Magnesian limestone, though it has been found in a pure state to injure crops, has yet been used with good effects in some cases. Magnesia has a much weaker attraction for carbonic acid than lime, and will remain in the state of caustic or calcined magnesia for many months, though exposed to the air; and, as long as any caustic lime remains, the magnesia cannot be combined with carbonic acid, for lime instantly attracts carbonic acid from magnesia. When a magnesian limestone is burnt, the magnesia is deprived of carbonic acid much sooner than the lime; and, if there is not much vegetable or animal matter in the soil to supply by its decomposition carbonic acid, the magnesia will remain for a long while in the caustic state, in which state it acts as a poison to certain vegetables; and that more magnesian lime may be used upon rich soils, seems to be owing to the circumstance, that the decomposition of the manure in them supplies carbonic acid. Magnesia in its mild state, i. e. fully combined with carbonic acid, seems to be always an useful constituent of soils. It is obvious, from what has been said, that lime from the magnesian limestone may be applied in large quantities to peats; and that where lands have been injured by the application of too large a quantity of magnesian lime, peat will be a proper and efficient remedy.