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I Forge Iron

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Probably not; scale is mostly Fe₃O₄ (magnetite), and since the iron atoms are solidly bound to the oxygen atoms, they're not available to be taken up and used by the plants. Iron deficiency in plants is usually treated with iron sulfate or chelated iron, but addressing soil pH can also be effective in making the existing iron in the soil more bioavailable. 

However, magnetite is sometimes used as an iron ore by those who make bloomery iron, so you might see if there's anyone in your area who might want it for that.

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I suspect that the strong bonding between the Fe and the O would still be a problem, but I've submitted this question on a (strictly evidence-based) soil science FB group I belong to; I'll keep you posted on any replies.

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Jhcc- thank you! I suppose if no mineral transfer would occur, it could still help in the way that any additions to largely clay soil would help- to break up the soil and provide an additional substrate to allow water in. Purely hypothetical, though. 

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The problem with adding material to clay soil (such as sand or whatever) is that you're basically making adobe. A much more effective way to improve clay soil is by encouraging the natural processes that build good soil in the first place: slow-decaying organic material added on top (wood chip or straw mulch), minimal disturbance of the soil (which tends to clump the clay particles together, so no double-digging and minimize tilling as much as possible), don't block moisture exchange (no cardboard or plastic mulch), and so on.

4 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Almost all natural iron in soil would be an oxide

True, but iron is taken up by plants as ions, not as oxides.

The first response is in! This is from Linda Chalker-Scott, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Washington State University:

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Interesting question!
Plant roots and microbes do transform soil chemistry to acquire nutrients through acidification, chelation, and chemical reduction. After all, plants and microbes can transform bare rock into soil over many years. So theoretically this iron could be transformed into a plant available form.
That being said, I would not add it unless a soil test revealed a deficiency in iron.

 

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Linda further comments on about whether iron sulfate or chelated iron are effective treatments:

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Yes, though it is a short term solution and I'm really not sure it would be needed given the ability of roots and mycorrhizae to acquire nutrients. It would require both a soil test and a leaf analysis to figure out if there was a soil deficiency and/or a foliar deficiency.

 

One thing I should say about Linda (having interacted with her for about ten years now) is that she is very much a hands-off person when it comes to soil amendments, fertilizers, etc. Her general rule is, "Unless a test shows a deficiency, don't add anything!" She also likes to point out that there's no such thing as anything that's universally "good for" plants -- even excesses of composted organic matter can be washed out of the soil, with that runoff contaminating waterways and causing unwanted algae growth.

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