Peat can be used in water filtration and is sometimes utilized for the treatment of urban runoff, wastewater, and septic tank effluent. Gardeners use peat moss mainly as a soil amendment or ingredient in potting soil. Peat is also used for household cooking in some places and has been used to produce small amounts of electricity. Although peat has many uses for humans, it also presents problems. This move also reflects increased societal awareness of sustainable production in general and more specifically the sustainable use of materials within horticulture itself. Peat moss also holds moisture well, which allows your potted plants to retain nutrients necessary for healthy growth. Hydraulic excavating can also be used, particularly in bogs that contain roots and tree trunks. Peat may be distinguished from lower-ranked coals on the basis of four characteristics: peats generally contain free cellulose, more than 75 percent moisture, and less than 60 percent carbon, and they can be cut with a knife. The presence of oxygen (aerobic conditions) is necessary for fungal and microbial activity that promotes decomposition, but peat is formed in waterlogged soils with little or no access to oxygen (anaerobic conditions), largely preventing the complete decomposition of organic material. Peat has been used by commercial growers and amateur gardeners since the mid 20th century. Peat moss is an important component of most potting soils an… Looking for online definition of PEAT or what PEAT stands for? 222879/SC038262. Peat is also used for household cooking in some places and has been used to produce small amounts of electricity. Since it doesnt compact or break down readily, one application of peat moss lasts for several years. There are many uses of peat moss, such as improving soil, starting seeds, adding it as an amendment, and more. Cost – Peat is cheap to extract and peat bogs have few other ‘productive’ uses, so it is very cost effective. When dry, the blocks weigh from 0.34 to 0.91 kg (0.75 to 2 pounds). Peats may be divided into several types, including fibric, coarse hemic, hemic, fine hemic, and sapric, based on their macroscopic, microscopic, and chemical characteristics. Dried peat burns readily with a smoky flame and a characteristic odour. You may also find bags or bales of coir. It’s made from the husks of coconuts. Soil care Peat moss (Sphagnum) is one of the most common constituents of peat. On windy days it’s easier to moisten the sheets before you place them down. Peat is often burned for fuel or used by gardeners. Peat bog near Enschede, Overijssel province, Netherlands. It was useful as an alternative to firewood for cooking and heating in temperate and boreal regions of Europe, in particular Ireland, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Finland and the USSR. Peat bogs can range in depth from six to 16 feet. Updates? RHS Garden Hyde Hall Spring and Orchid Show, Free entry to RHS members at selected All have different properties in terms of water retention, water distribution and nutrient provision. Under the title of 'Project 4', a working group of industry stakeholders is attempting to balance a robust sustainability assessment with a pragmatic and cost effective approach that has been re-titled “responsibly sourced growing media”. It is also used to soften aquaria water and to mimic habitats for freshwater fish. Organic matter. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. RHS statement on peat Cover the newspaper with a one to three-inch layer of another organic mulch and the weed protection should last throughout the growing season. Coco coir is so environmentally friendly that it is reusable. Alternatives to peat. It has an acid pH, so its ideal for acid loving plants, such as blueberries and camellias. Most of the gardeners make use of peat moss as a soil amendment or for potting soil. Maceration tends to yield more uniform shrinkage and a denser and tougher fuel. Peat is never used as a soil improver or mulch in RHS Gardens. The ash is powdery and light, except for varieties that have a high content of inorganic matter. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Very often it is compressed into blocks or bricks, which need to be soaked before using. Horticultural coir is a peat-like substance that is used in gardening and agriculture. However, the question of how best to maintain and improve healthy garden soils remains. Peat is usually hand-cut, although progress has been made in the excavation and spreading of peat by mechanical methods. Peatification is influenced by several factors, including the nature of the plant material deposited, the availability of nutrients to support bacterial life, the availability of oxygen, the acidity of the peat, and temperature. The choice of material is largely determined by: It is unlikely that all of these factors (availability, cost and effectiveness) are going to be met by any one material in any one situation. Types of Coco Peat for Plants. For plants that like a more alkaline soil, compost may be a better choice. If you are wondering ‘what is peat moss used for’, you will get answers in this section. aesthetics (For many larger public gardens the aesthetics of the organic material are also of value, the impression the material creates for visitors being of great significance, particularly if used as a mulch. Peat is sometimes considered a “slowly renewable energy” and is classified as a “solid fossil” rather than a biomass fuel by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Finally, horticulturalists are also “creatures of habit”; once they have identified a material they like, they tend to utilise it repeatedly. Due to their poor drainage, the water has low oxygen, so it is anaerobic and has limited microbial po… Due to its acidic pH value, peat moss is an ideal material for acid loving plants like camellias and blueberries. Consequently, the production of organic matter exceeds its decomposition, which results in a net accumulation of peat. Traditionally, a variety of organic materials have been used as mulches or soil conditioners in order to improve the performance of plants - largely through improved nutrient provision and improved soil water management. It acts as a carbon store, it is a great habitat for wildlife, it has a role in water management, and preserves things well for archaeology. Canadian peatlands formed over 10,000 years ago in very moist and poorly drained low spots such as old river beds, lakes or ponds. Peat is used for domestic heating purposes as an alternative to firewood and forms a fuel suitable for boiler firing in either briquetted or pulverized form. Although peat production was mechanized and industrialized in…. Over time, peat deposits have the potential to evolve into coal. Some wetlands result from high groundwater levels, whereas some elevated bogs are the result of heavy rainfall. This gives Scotch whisky its distinctive smoky flavour, often called "peatiness". Peat is used within horticulture principally as a growing medium both by amateur and professional gardeners, professional growers and by the mushroom industry. Peat moss has several practical uses in the garden, from starting seeds to improving your soil, and is a useful amendment for both flower and vegetable gardeners. Join the RHS today and support our charitable work, Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully, For the latest on RHS Shows in 2020 and 2021, read more, RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens, Free entry to RHS members at selected times », Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops, Our Garden Centres and online shops are packed with unique and thoughtful gifts and decorations to make your Christmas sparkle, General enquiries Many garden centres refuse to sell plants in peat-based composts, but there is still a need for the use of peat to be banned totally. Shredded Leaves . The resulting peat brick (or briquette as they are commonly known) is a fuel that is virtually smokeless, slow-burning, and easy to store and transport. Controlling the hydrology of the peatland (its water table) is necessary for its successful exploitation. It is made from the pith found between the fibers. Interestingly, this variability in properties could also offer potential benefits to growers, assuming growers can adapt their management practices with water use and nutrient savings potentially feasible, in turn improving the sustainability of production. Traditionally peat has also been used for soil improvement and ground mulching but other materials are better suited to these tasks than peat. Peat definition, a highly organic material found in marshy or damp regions, composed of partially decayed vegetable matter: it is cut and dried for use as fuel. The formation of abundant peat was not possible before land plants spread widely during and after the Devonian Period (beginning approximately 419.2 million years ago). In a comparison of coco peat vs. soil, the peat retains much more water and releases it slowly to plant roots. Environmentalists, government and horticultural businesses in the UK now recognise the environmental consequences of using peat in horticulture, and the industry is turning increasingly to sustainable raw materials. times, RHS Registered Charity no. In addition, when examining the effects of repeated organic matter application on soil chemical and physical factors more closely, it is even less likely that they will all be ideal. Peat played a role in prehistoric Florida. But also the modern industrial maltings, such as Port Ellen, Glen Esk and Glen Ord, use the peat more efficiently than what can be achieved with traditional kiln fires. You just need to rinse and strain it and it will work perfectly again. Northern Europe, particularly Scandinavia and the British Isles, have the most peatlands harvested for fuel use. Professor Emeritus of Geological Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This includes management of water and nutrition and both remain a challenge. The coir pith gets washed, heat-treated, sieved to remove large particles, and graded. effectiveness (provision of nutrients, reduction in the weed population and improved soil structure). The transition to brown coal takes place slowly and is usually reached at depths ranging from 100 to 400 metres (approximately 330 to 1,300 feet). Although the rate of plant growth in cold regions is very slow, the rate of decomposition of organic matter is also very slow. The addition of organic matter to soil helps aid nutrient provision, optimizes water management and potentially sequesters carbon thus helping mitigate climate change. Peat, fuel consisting of spongy material formed by the partial decomposition of organic matter, primarily plant material, in wetlands such as swamps, muskegs, bogs, fens, and moors. The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. Clay soils Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board - Sustainable resource use in horticulture: a systems approach to delivering high quality plants grown in sustainable substrates, with efficient water use and novel nutrient sources. Peat is vegetable matter which has been partially carbonized due to the way in which it decomposes. Peat is hugely important to our planet for lots of reasons. Ongoing research at the RHS is examining management of soil organic matter in a horticultural context. When dry, it can be a major fire hazard, as peat fires can burn almost indefinitely (or at least until the fuel is exhausted). Peat is of great importance to our planet: as a carbon store – peat holds more carbon than the combined forests of Britain, France and Germany In horticulture, peat is used to increase the moisture-holding capacity of sandy soils and to increase the water infiltration rate of clay soils. Peat used to be cut from the ground by hand. Video of the Day Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Why It Occasionally Shows Up on the Beach. The addition of organic matter to soil helps aid nutrient provision, optimizes water management and potentially sequesters carbon thus helping mitigate climate change. Traditionally, a variety of organic materials have been used as mulches or soil conditioners in order to improve the performance of plants - largely through improved nutrient provision and improved soil water management. In horticulture, peat is used to increase the moisture-holding capacity of sandy soils and to increase the water infiltration rate of clay soils. Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm, Join the RHS today and support our charity. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? Coco peat gardening is also used as a soil amendment, potting mix, and in hydroponic production. It seems in our attempt to create our own little wilderness that we are selfishly robbing another. availability (a requirement for large volumes), cost (cheap as possible but horticulturalists also recognise cost savings elsewhere, e.g. Peat is only a minor contributor to the world energy supply, but large deposits occur in Canada, China, Indonesia, Russia, Scandinavia, and the United States. Peat has been used as a form of energy for at least 2 000 years. Coco peat is a growing medium and normally used for soil amendments. Peat moss also absorbs and retains moisture from rainfall, providing a natural water reservoir for plants. Adding peat moss to light, sandy soils that usually drain quickly can help the soil to retain moisture longer. To use as a mulch in the garden, spread a layer of four to eight sheets of newspaper around the plants. In the early 21st century the top four peat producers in the world were Finland, Ireland, Belarus, and Sweden, and most of the major users of peat were these and other northern European countries. Virtually all rural households are now connected to the national electricity network, which relies partly on hydroelectric plants and on small and medium-sized peat-burning thermal power stations. Investigating the effects of long-term organic matter amendments on net primary productivity and greenhouse gas emissions in a horticultural context. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Whichever driver is pertinent, adapting to new growing media means revising the growers’ approach to managing plant quality. The formation of peat is the first step in the formation of coal. After the glaciers melted, the water runoff filled in these areas. Peat moss is a stringy, fibrous substance that helps break up heavy clay soils to aerate plant root systems. Drainage is almost always the essential first step in the mining process to dry the peat and make it more manageable to extract, process and transport. Nutrients are added to help plant growth. Although some peat is used as fuel, the vast majority of it is used by gardeners.