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A recent garden radio program advised against the use of limestone (calcium carbonate) mulch on apple trees. It is alkaline and they prefer slight acidity. He suggested river rock instead.

If oyster shells are unavailable, egg shells might work as well. Or bone meal. Recall that phosphate fertilizer is measured in bone phosphate of lime. In the 1880s buffalo bones were ground up and sold as fertilizer.

Phosphate is also a benefit of oyster shells.
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