The Effects of Basalt Rock Dust Emissions on Trees in Germany

The Effects of Basalt Rock Dust Emissions on Trees in Germany

Fritz Leipold



The slope beside the basalt quarry was created during the years 1952-1965, and on this slope the natural effects of basalt emissions on spruce trees were discovered. The material utilized consists of the layers of rock dust that were situated above the basalt and could not be used for production. From 1-6 meters depth of soil and clay were taken out. The planting of the hill with spruce trees began in 1972 and the forester of the region was very skeptical and did not tend the trees.

Since 1972 I continually observed their development. When Waldsterben (dying of the forests due to acid rain) became more serious the spruces did not show any sign of distorted growth. On the contrary they were healthy and thick with strong firm needles. There was another stock of trees about the same age in a different area, which was simultaneously doing worse. This significant difference warranted an investigation. Therefore, in the summer of 1983, soil samples, plus samples of twigs from the spruces were taken from both areas and scientifically examined. The results showed that the spruces near the basalt quarry were healthy due to the basalt emissions.

Spruce branches without rock dust taken for mineral analysis.

The high content of Mg with45mg/100g of soil is proof that this element plays an important role in the life of plants and soil. The needles of the plants near the basalt quarry are much stronger and sharper because of the element silica,which gives the needles a solid structure and tight surface. A parallel effect of silica in deciduous wood is that it strengthens the cuticle and the surface skin of the leaves. Silica is absolutely essential for the building of cells and can substitute phosphoric acid in the soil.

Another area was also included in this observation. This area was planted with spruce trees in 1965 near the basalt quarry, and the basalt dust also had a positive effect on the spruce trees in this area. The effects of Simalith, a trademark product name for basalt rock dust, are due to the combination of all elements, including its 16 major mineral elements and 13.5% MgO. Simalith interacts with all aspects ofplant and soil life in a productive way. The fineness of the material is the decisive factor. One kilo (2.2 lb) has a surface area of 3500 square meters. With the normal amount of 15 kilos, 52,500 square meters of soil is covered with active clay crystals (150 lb to the acre).

Fritz Leipold has over 25 years experience with the application of basalt rock dust, especially in fruit, orchards and vegetable gardens. He is a retired garden landscape consultant and has experience in education and teaching. He was head of the Department for Tree Nurseries and Landscaping at the Research Training Institute and now Technical College in Weihenstephan, and has been a teacher and advisor for vegetable, fruit and horticulture in the area of Siegkreises since 1948.

Chemical analysis of Basalt Stone Meal “Simalith”

Silica 43.9 %
Magnesium 13.7 %
Calcium 9.8 %
Aluminum 10.5 %
Iron 11.5 %
Phosphorus 0.9 %
Potassium 0.6 %
Manganese 0.2 %
Copper 73.0 mg/Kg
Chromium 226.0 mg/Kg
Zinc 101.0 mg/Kg
Cobalt 26.4 mg/Kg
Nickel 230.0 mg/Kg
Molybdenum 7.9 mg/Kg
Boron 5.0 mg/Kg
Sodium 2.3 %
(Value in Oxide form)

Effects of Basalt-dust Emissions on Spruce Trees

Firtz Leipold, Dipl Ing.

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