Why You Should Stop Using Peat Moss - Backyard Boss
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Why You Should Stop Using Peat Moss

Peat moss is a type of sphagnum moss that forms in wet areas. It contains a lot of water, making it a good soil amendment and mulch. It can also improve the drainage and aeration of heavy soils as well as retain moisture in sandy soils.

Because of these motives, gardeners often use it to improve their soil quality. And if you’re like most gardeners, you probably think of it as an essential ingredient in your gardening toolkit. But you may not know that there are many environmental reasons to stop using it in your garden.   Despite many of its great benefits, it is not a sustainable horticultural product.

Keep reading to learn more about peat moss, the top reasons why you should stop using it, and discover some of its best alternatives that will help your garden thrive!

First, What Is Peat?

Peat
Image credits: Neil Tackaberry via Shutterstock

Peat is an organic material that forms in wetlands in the northern hemisphere. It is made of plant matter, such as leaves and roots, that have decomposed over time. Peat is often used as a fuel or for horticultural purposes.

It forms in waterlogged areas with little to no oxygen. This environment inhibits the decomposition of plant matter, which accumulates and compresses over time. It can be as deep as 40 feet, and you can find it in bogs and fens.

People have been utilizing peat as fuel for centuries. We burn it to produce heat or electricity and use it in horticulture as a soil amendment or potting medium.

Why You Should Stop Using It

Hand holding peat moss organic matter improve soil for agric
Image credits: sasirin pamai’s Images via Canva

At this point, you know what peat moss is and what are the benefits of using it. However, you may not know that it is not a sustainable horticultural product. Here’s why you should stop using peat moss in your garden:

It Is Not Replenished

Unlike other organic materials, peat moss is not replenished once it’s been harvested. It forms very slowly, about a millimeter per year, meaning it takes centuries to be formed.

There is very little peat moss available, and as demand for this horticultural product increases, the supply decreases. At some point, there will be no more peat moss to harvest, which can have devastating consequences for the environment.

It means that every time someone uses peat moss in their garden, they’re essentially removing a non-renewable resource from the environment.

It Is Harmful to the Environment

Peat moss is typically harvested from wild peat bogs. This process is not sustainable because it damages the delicate ecosystems that have taken centuries to develop. Because of that, peat bogs are some of the most threatened habitats in the world.

When peat moss is collected, it destroys the habitat and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Peat bogs store large amounts of carbon, and when they’re damaged, that carbon is released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

It Is Unnecessary

There are many sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to peat moss that work just as well, if not better. They are not only renewable resources, but they also provide nutrients for plants and improve drainage and aeration in the soil.

Alternatives To Peat Moss

Coconut Coir
Image credits: G_stockervia Shutterstock

Coconut coir

Coconut coir is a by-product of the coconut industry and is an excellent alternative to peat moss. It is lightweight, absorbent, and has good drainage properties. It also breaks down slowly, improving the structure of your soil over time.

Wood chips

Wood chips make another great alternative to peat moss. They are absorbent and have good drainage properties. They help to improve the structure of your soil and are a renewable resource, making them more sustainable than peat moss.

Green manure

Green manure makes an excellent substitute for peat moss. It is rich in nutrients and improves the structure of your soil. You can grow your own in the form of clover or buckwheat or purchase it from any gardening center.

Pine needles

Pine needles are an excellent option, especially if you live in an area with many pine trees. They are rich in nutrients and enhance the structure of your soil.

Say Goodbye To Peat Moss

It’s important to consider the environmental impact of peat harvesting. Peat bogs are fragile ecosystems that we must preserve. There are a lot of sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to peat moss available on the market. That’s why it’s definitely worth it to make the switch!

Do you have any tips or tricks on any peat moss alternatives? Let us know in the comments below!

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