Time to debunk some of the rumours about peat moss that have been circulating. This information was obtained from the North American Wetlands Conversation Council.
Firstly, WHAT IS PEAT MOSS? Peat moss is the partially decomposed remains of formerly living sphagnum moss from bogs. Peat moss releases nutrients in your soil in time as the plants require. This saves valuable nutrients which are otherwise lost through leaching.
Peat Moss speeds the composting process, reduces odours and controls air and water in the compost pile. Peat moss decomposes slowly over several years whereas compost typically decomposes in 1 year which means that it constantly has to be maintained and watched over.
Peat moss has a reliable pH (3.4 to 4.8); is environmentally friendly and free of insects, weeds, seeds, salts, and chemicals and represents good value for your money.
Peat moss also repairs bare spots! Many factors cause bare spots: disease, animals urine, soil compacting, winter kill and thatch. However, with the help of peat moss, repair is easy and you can usually see results in 5 to 7 days!!!
BENEFITS OF PEAT MOSS
1) Retains 20 times it’s weight in moisture. It also releases the water slowly as the plants need it. This is called CEC “cation exchange capacity”.
2) Allows for growth. Peat allows for proper growth by loosening and aerating soils.
3) Helps bind sandy soil. By adding body to your mixture peat moss binds sandy soil and also helps to retain moisture and nutrients.
4) Reduces leaching of nutrients. Peat moss reduces the leaching of nutrients that are in or are added to the soil. This helps save time and money on fertilizer.
5) Protects the soil. Peat moss protects soil from hardening and adds organic material.
The art of compost takes time and plenty of work to produce the kind that you will truly benefit from. It also loses the few nutrients that it has quickly. It requires much more maintenance and effort and there is no guarantee you are getting the same mixture each time.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PEAT MOSS
1) Peat has salt/fine silts in it. This is incorrect. There is absolutely no evidence to support this claim.
2) Another common misconception is that peat is “over harvested” which is also not true. Peat is renewable and grows more than 70 times as fast as it is being harvested.
3) Peat can adversely affect the physical dynamics of a root zone. Again, there is no evidence to support this claim. Peat moss HELPS to keep your root zone NUTRIENT RICH by releasing water and nutrients when needed. Claims like this come up because most people don’t actually understand what peat moss IS!
4) Localized dry spots are caused by peat moss. This couldn’t be MORE FALSE. In fact, peat moss is what you use to REPAIR dry or bare spots. For more information read above or visit the North American Wetlands Conversation Council.
5) Peat moss can be used interchangeably with mulch. Peat moss is not a mulch! It’s important to do your research so that you don’t use peat moss incorrectly.
*This information about peat moss was published by the North American Wetlands Conversation Council.