Peat: what is it really?

Peat is a fossil organic material, formed from plant debris. It forms the majority of soils saturated with water such as peatlands.

Peat is a non-renewable raw material and its extraction is highly regulated. It takes on average 1 century to constitute a height of 5 cm of peat.

It is the traditional raw material in the development of potting soil because it has excellent agronomic qualities.

It has the advantage of having very good water and air retention capacity and water availability.

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The different types of peat

Peat is classified into three main categories:

  • The blond peat that comes from the transformation of sphagnum moss.
  • Brown peat
  • Black peat which also comes from the processing of sphagnum moss, but to a much more advanced degree.

To better respect the environment, it is now possible to use potting soil containing a lower proportion of peat but with the same agronomic qualities. They incorporate, for example, Black earth of Brière or even wood fiber likeHortifibre.

Composition of peat

The composition of peat depends mainly on the vegetation in which it is formed, on the climate but also on other factors such as the acidity of the water.

Peat is mainly consisting of water and poorly decomposed organic matter (80 to 90% of the weight in ash). Only 10 to 20% of the peat is made up of decomposed organic matter.

The carbon content can reach 50% of the total weight, allowing peat to be used for a long time as fuel for heating or cooking.

Video: Peatlands Critical In Climate Change Fight. National Geographic (October 2020).