Peat moss is widely used by gardeners all over the world since it’s simple to use, reasonably affordable, and easily accessible in any garden shop; it’s also useful for lowering the pH of alkaline soil because it’s strongly acidic. The good news is that this is the case. The bad news is that, contrary to popular belief, peat moss is harmful to both gardens and the environment in general.
Peat moss is a genus of moss with at least 125 species that grow primarily in peat bogs in chilly northern climates such as the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, and Norway. The moss lives on the surface of the water, eventually dying and sinking to the bog’s bottom, where it decays. Peat moss may cover many feet of bogs, although the nutrient-rich surface layers are more beneficial than the older moss deep below.
So, what is it about peat moss that you don’t like? Peat moss has natural antimicrobial properties, which are ideal for storing dahlia and glad bulbs over the winter. Otherwise, killing natural soil microbes makes it difficult to grow a beautiful flower garden or a plentiful crop of nutritious vegetables.
The issue is that good soil includes millions and billions of active, tiny microorganisms that break down plant matter, inhibit pathogens, minimize erosion and runoff, avoid soil compaction, and increase the availability of nutrients to plant roots. Prohibiting microbial development, on the other hand, permits dangerous pests and illnesses to thrive since there are no good bacteria to keep the bad guys in check. Peat moss, unlike microbe-rich compost, is low in nutrients, and as it decomposes, it suffocates many of the soil’s tiny air pockets, making it difficult for roots to breathe and expand.
Peat bogs cover just a small percentage of the Earth’s surface area, yet they collect massive amounts of dangerous carbon from the atmosphere, slowing global climate change. Many nations have put limitations on peat mining since the bogs are so vital. However, it’s too late for places like New Zealand and England, where most peat bogs have already been destroyed.
Peat harvesters argue that peat bogs are sustainable, and it’s possible that they will recover to some extent after 10 years. However, experts estimate that it will take a century or more for these fragile habitats to be restored to completely functional wetland habitats. Others believe that the damage is irreversible and that the original level of biodiversity will never be restored.
So, what is a gardener to do in this situation? Take a look at some of the peat moss products offered by Dave’s pet and garden. They provide a variety of alternatives for growing those wonderful garden plants we adore while also maintaining a rich, healthy soil environment.