History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 157
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HISTOR Y O' TEXAS.
in the marl in variable amounts, and less in
the altered than in the unaltered material.
In nearly every instance, however, the
amounts were sufficient to be of great agricultural
value to every field within hauling
distance of such a deposit. It often happens,
too, that these beds of marl lie in
closest proximity to the very soils on which
they are most needed, and all the farmer has
to do to secure the desired results is to apply
it as a fertilizer.
If any proof is wanted of the adaptability
of these marls, and of their great value on
just this character of soil, it is shown in New
Jersey, where exactly similar conditions exist.
In that State there were large areas of
pine-land soils which were, like ours, of little
agricultural value, because of the small
amounts of potash, phosphoric acid and lime
contained in them. There were, however,
large deposits of greensand marl adjacent to
them, and its use has been of the highest
benefit. This is fully attested both by the
agricultural and the geological reports of the
State. It gives lasting fertility to the soils.
No field that has once been marled is now
poor. One instance was found where poor
and sandy land was marled more than thirty
years ago and has ever since been tilled
without manure, and not well managed,
which is still in good condition. Fruit trees
and vines make a remarkable growth and
produce fruit of high flavor when liberally
dressed with this marl. Although the greensand
marls of east Texas are not as rich as
those of New Jersey, they are nevertheless
rich enough to be of the same use to our
lands. Nearly 200,000 tons of greensand
marls are used yearly in New Jersey.
The first requisite to the best results is
that the marl should be powdered as finely
as possible before spreading it on the land.
The greensand decomposes and is dissolved
very slowly, and the finer it is powdered the
more rapid will be its action. It should also
be spread evenly and uniformly over the
ground. It is ordinarily wet when first dug,
but after a certain amount of drying it can
be easily pulverized, or it can be dried more
rapidly and rendered more friable by the
mixture of a small amount of quicklime with
it. It could also be improved by composting
it with barnyard manure or guano. Owing
to the difficulty with which the greensand is
dissolved, the effects are not always so apparent
the first year, but it is a lasting fertilizer,
as is shown by the quotations given
The amount required will of course vary
with the composition of the soil and the
quality of the greensand. From three to ten
wagon loads per acre would, perhaps, be the
usual amount required, although some soils
might need even more.
Calcareous AMXarl8.-Lime is already used
to a large extent in agriculture, and will be
used more largely still. Its uses are to
lighten clay soils and to make sandy soils
more firm, while sour soils or swamp lands
are sweetened by its application. In addition
to this the chemical action brought
about by its presence in the decomposition
and rendering soluble of other constituents
of the soil is very great, so that its action is
both chemical and physical. Its use is perhaps
most beneficial when composted with
organic manures or the greensand mnarls.
When the calcareous marls are soft enough
to be easily powdered they may be applied as
they are, and in this condition the action of
the lime is much more gradual and of longer
continuance. When they exist as harder
rocks they will have to be burned before applying
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/162/?rotate=270: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .