In most hardware stores you will be able to find large bags of compressed peat moss. The packaging shows pictures of sunshine and super-rich soil, and fabulous flowers in full bloom. The company producing the product wants to make sure that you understand that this product will transform your lawn and garden into something truly fabulous and luscious – similar to the way in which, PlayCroco no deposit bonus codes can be transformed, redeemed, and are the best bonuses available.
Things that you will see written on the packaging of this peat moss are words and phrases like “natural”, “100% organic”, “Green”, “Makes anything grow better”. This is truly hard sell. The peat moss industry is really anxious to persuade people that this product is eco- friendly and worth buying. But is this the case?
So, where and how is Peat Moss developed
Most people probably have no idea about the origins of peat moss, how it is formed and where it actually comes from. They probably haven’t spent too much time thinking about it. However, most people know what peat moss is traditionally used for, that is germinating grass seed. Peat moss has generally been used as a top layer to prevent evaporation during the important stages of seed germination and establishing seedling.
Peat moss develops in wetland bogs and is derived from living sphagnum moss. As the sphagnum moss dies, it does not decompose completely owing to the lack of oxygen in the water. This relatively decomposed substance is what becomes peat. Some of these peat bogs may be as much as a thousand years old and growing about 1 millimeter per year.
In North American, most of the peat moss comes in from Canada where it is taken from the top layer of living sphagnum moss in these bogs. In order to do this, the bogs are first drained after which the living sphagnum moss starts to dry and then dies. It is then removed, revealing the peat which is gathered up and taken to be processed, screened and finally packaged for sale.
Peat Bogs are an integral part of wetland ecosystems
The main problem with peat moss mining is that it has a negative impact on the environment. It causes great damage to wetland ecosystems. Bogs play a vital part in purifying water, air and preventing floods. The layer of living sphagnum moss is full of diverse plants and wildlife, which includes many unique plant species and animals that are only found in these peat bogs.
Bogs are also able to absorb carbon monoxide which is a huge benefit for the environment. Some scientists argue that bogs are able to absorb more carbon monoxide than all the planet’s tropical rainforests.
According to them, by draining these bogs we are releasing vast amounts of carbon monoxide back into the environment where it is transformed into a greenhouse gas. Preserving these bogs also has archeological benefits.
Because of the very low oxygen content, together with acidity levels found in these bogs, it means that anything thrown in will be preserved. That means anything, even humans who may have been buried there many centuries ago.
Some time ago in Denmark, the remains of a mummified man, “Tollund Man”, from the 4th century BC was found in such a bog and was actually thought at first, to be a modern- day murder victim owing to the fact that it was so well preserved.
Peat Moss Industry and the Wetland Scientists
The peat moss industry does everything it can in order to show that their business does not impact the environment negatively. They argue that peat moss is like tree farming and is a renewable resource. It may well be renewable but after thousands of years.
According to government regulations, the peat moss company is obliged to restore the area mined and return it to its original wetland state after harvesting. However, this is based on the idea that peat bogs are “renewable” but as we have said they are renewable but after thousands of years.
According to Wetland scientists these so called “restored” bogs are nothing like natural bogs. They are referring to the monoculture and absence of biodiversity of these bogs. However, these peat moss companies still claim that it takes only around 5 to 10 years to restore a bog and have it become completely functional again.
For this reason, it is maybe why the Royal Horticultural Society has been actively trying to educate and limit the use of peat moss and trying to advocate for the use of alternatives in the last few years.
Peat Moss Alternatives
It is possible to use other materials, other than peat moss and they do not impact the environment negatively. One method for establishing new lawns is to use straw as a top dressing. This is a cheap and easy method.
It does have some negatives. It can be that the straw has become contaminated with weed seeds and this can cause your new law to become infested. Obviously, it is very important to check exactly where the straw comes from and to ensure that it is very clean.
Laying one 80 Ib. bale of straw is good to cover about 1000 square feet. Laying it too thick may choke the grass seedlings. Alternatively, you could use a product called “Seed Aide”. This product is made up of “post-consumer recycled paper, recycled clean whole-wood mulch, organic tackifier, and bio-stimulant” which allows for better seed establishment.
Soil particles are able to stick together because of the organic tackifier and helps to reduce soil erosion, water runoff and also seed wash out. The bio-stimulant promotes root mass and improves grass development.
The use of peat moss to germinate your new sown grass seed should not be used. Peat moss is not good for the environment and should be completely phased out. As we have shown there are alternatives that are inexpensive and do the job very effectively.