It is unique to natural areas called peatlands, bogs, mires, moors, or muskegs. It also has a rich nutrient composition that can promote faster growth for a range of plants, from crops to ornamental shrubs. Sphagnum moss grows most commonly in bogs, which are essentially deep, wet marshes. Cool climates are usually best for sphagnum and peat. Has anybody every used sphagnum peat moss in the garden? Some of the world’s oldest peat bogs have very dense, seemingly endless supplies of the decaying matter, though it is also available in smaller quantities on trees, rocks, and even on top of the soil in some places. While it is organic, peat is being used and mined faster than it can be produced. It breaks down too fast, compressing and squeezing air out of … Peat moss helps soften compact soil. Peat moss helps retain water in the soil, adds body to sand soils and loosens soil containing a high amount of heavy clay. This is very important, because it preserves the porosity of the fibers that these plants have. I am always impressed with how light the bagged bales of peat moss are at the garden centers. Before using peat moss as a soil amendment, thoroughly moisten it with water and then mix with the soil thoroughly using your hands. What Is Peat Moss Made of? Peat is the "forgotten fossil fuel. Furthermore, you can create a rooting medium by mixing 2 parts perlite with 1 part peat moss. Canada is one of the world’s top producers, for instance, as are many countries in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. And what’s more, this growing medium enhances the texture of the soil making it suitable for your favorite plants – we all want the best for our favorites. Gardeners tend to love it for its ability to retain water — it can often hold up to 20 times its weight. Peat moss is very common in gardening so it is important to understand what it is, how it works and how to use it to make your plants thrive. It forms when layers of mosses and other organic materials decompose beneath the surface of bog water. This is used as a soil conditioner which increases the soil's capacity to hold water and nutrients by increasing capillary forces and cation exchange capacity – uses that are particularly useful in gardening. As it exists in nature, peat moss is made up of layers upon layers of partially decomposed plant remains — such as sedges, reeds, mosses, and grasses — and is formed over thousands of years when an abundance of water and the absence of oxygen affect the natural processes of decay, according to the Royal Horticultural As it exists in nature, peat moss is made up of layers upon layers of partially decomposed plant remains — such as sedges, reeds, mosses, and grasses — and is formed over thousands of years when an abundance of water and the absence of oxygen affect the natural processes of decay, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, a British conservation group. Peat moss is the dark brown fibrous product of sphagnum moss and other organic materials that decompose in peat bogs over thousands of years. Peat moss is not just made up of decayed sphagnum moss, though. What you should know about peat moss is that it isn’t a renewable resource. Peat moss is a fibrous material that forms when the mosses and other living materials decompose in peat bogs. Although the material looks like dirt, it should not usually be used interchangeably with regular potting or planting soil — and should usually only be incorporated into potting mixes in small proportions. Wikibuy Review: A Free Tool That Saves You Time and Money, 15 Creative Ways to Save Money That Actually Work. Peat moss and sphagnum moss are two types of mosses used as soil amendments in gardening. A distinction is sometimes made between sphagnum moss, the live moss growing on top of a peat bog, and 'sphagnu… Unlike compost, peat moss forms in the absence of air. Peat is also formed into peat pots that let you plant seeds and seedlings into the pots, which you can then plant directly into the ground, peat pots and all. Peat is a brown material with a soil-like composition that is generally found growing in acidic and boggy soils. When the demand outpaces the natural production, there is a danger of over-farming. Peat is generally sold in bags and used as an alternative to topsoil since it provides better aeration and helps prevent soil erosion. Scientists believe that the peat in these peatlands has been forming for 360 million years. "While oil, coal, and natural gas are exported around the world, few outside northern Europe are aware of this energy source. Additionally, peat moss is used for starting seeds because it’s sterile and retains water and nutrients. The main difference between peat moss and sphagnum moss is that peat moss is formed by the decomposition of sphagnum moss and other organisms over many thousand years, whereas sphagnum moss contains more than 370 species which grow in cool and moist habitats. Whats in Peat Moss. If using peat pots, make sure and break off the rims above the surface, or bury This may make it appear that the ground is nice and moist, but in reality, the moss is often robbing the plants of the water they need to thrive. Like most mosses, peat is made up of a number of different spores. Even though their names are similar, peat and peat moss are two separate materials that have some of the same characteristics. Peat moss first became available to gardeners in the mid-1900s. Peat is made up of dead and partially decomposed mosses and plants that have slowly built up under cool and wet conditions. It tends to be more expensive than more traditional fertilizers like manure or organic compounds, but is often easier to use and faster-acting. On the upside, any excess water quickly moves through the material and drains out. I've also heard that peat moss makes great fertilizer -- does anybody reading this have any personal experience with that? Decayed, dried sphagnum moss has the name of peat or peat moss. The creation of Britain’s peat bogs actually removed 5.5 billion tons of carbon … The peat is then dried further, screened, and compressed into the bales of peat moss--this final product-- that we buy in stores. Peat can consist of either sapric, hemic or fibric materials, each with its own level of decomposition. Though sphagnum grows in many places, it often takes a long time to decompose and die away. Therefore, as a gardening staple with a salient nature, it is important for us to de-mystify it.. Inhaling these into the lungs can be dangerous, although not usually fatal. The popularity of peat has caused some controversy when it comes to resourcing, however. In natural peatlands, the "annual rate of biomassproduction is greater than the rate of decomposition", but it takes "thousands of … Around this material, there are serious ecological concerns. Oftentimes, they are called sphagnum peat moss because it is mostly composed of sphagnum which is a type of moss. So if anybody reading this has tried sphagnum peat moss in the garden or as a fertilizer, and could tell me if you're pleased with it or if it's not worth the trouble, I'd be greatly appreciative. I use Canadian peat moss, but I've heard that any kind works. The huge bales always look like they are going to be heavy, but they are not. Sphagnum moss grows most commonly in bogs, which are essentially deep, wet marshes. Without getting into much detail (for more, just give a look at the end of this article), peat moss is: 1) a finite resource 2) covering important water regulation roles in the environment 2) is a carbon sink. Peat , sometimes known as turf (/tɜːrf/), is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation or organic matter. Bone tends to dissolve away, thanks to the peat’s high acid content, but hair, skin, and even clothing are often left largely recognizable. Peat moss is the partially decomposed remains of formerly living sphagnum moss from bogs. In the gardening terms, peat moss is the characteristic, dark brown fibrous material resulting from the … Are there any health risks to using peat moss? If the surrounding soil is already high in acid, adding peat can make a garden intolerant to growth. Disadvantages of Growing Plants in Sphagnum Moss, Harvest to Table: Organic Fertilizers and Soil Amendments, University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener: Mulching – A Must. Bogs are often “mined,” either by hand or with mechanical removal equipment designed to separate the peat from the living sphagnum. What Are the Benefits of Coconut Coir in the Garden? But anyway, I would really recommend it to anybody with a compost pile -- you'll be amazed at how quickly things start to decompose, and how balanced your pile will become. Sneeze city! The moss grows on top of the bog, and peat is produced underneath. Peat can consist of either sapric, hemic or fibric materials, each with its own level of decomposition. Peat moss is prized by gardeners for its nutritive content and water absorption and is often mixed with potting or planting soil in order to boost plant growing potential and to help with erosion. Bogs are a type of wetland with a high acid content. These can be planted directly in soil where they will dissolve, enriching it. It doesn't really decompose because peat moss is so anaerobic and this process takes very slowly. Peat moss is also used in creating potting mixes for various types of houseplants. Thus, it is not fully decomposed matter. In the southern hemisphere, New Zealand boasts some of the biggest bogs and natural moss habitats. Cool climates are usually best for sphagnum and peat. This makes peat moss a very unique garden material because it forms without the presence of oxygen. There is also another organic matter, like insects, animals, and other plants, that have sunk to the bottom of the bog and mixed in with the old sphagnum moss. Understanding the ingredients and how they can benefit your growing needs. It is usually best to incorporate peat into the soil, so that a plant’s roots can access any water the moss stores.