What Is Peat Moss Used For?

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If the soil or plants in your garden need a boost of nutrients, then peat moss might be the solution. Peat moss is the decomposing remains of wild mosses that grow in marshy and boggy areas. Because it grows in thick, fertile soil, peat moss contains a range of essential nutrients that can improve garden soil and help plants to thrive. Buy peat moss from garden centers or farm supply stores and dig it into top soil during the spring and early summer.

Garden Soil Conditioner

Soil needs a constant supply of decomposing organic matter to remain healthy and to supply essential nutrients to growing plants. Gardeners can add peat moss to any type of soil to improve its texture and increase nutrient levels. Peat moss is a stringy, fibrous substance that helps break up heavy clay soils to aerate plant root systems. 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.

Home Composting

Adding layers of peat moss to compost piles speeds up the decomposition process, increases nutrient levels and even helps to prevent the unpleasant odors usually associated with compost piles. The stringy and spongy structure of peat moss also aerates the compost and keeps it moist. The most effective way to boost compost with peat moss is to add a 1-inch thick layer of peat moss between every 4-inch thick layer of compost material. Top the compost pile with an inch or two of peat moss to form an odor barrier.

Tree and Shrub Planting

Soil preparation is essential when planting a shrub or tree. Mix peat moss with soil to make an ideal growing medium. The peat moss naturally conditions the soil, regulating moisture and aerating tree and shrub roots. Mix two parts soil with one part peat moss and fill in the hole around the root ball of the shrub or plant with the mixture up to ground level. Form a natural “bowl” to collect rainfall water around the base of the plant by adding a little more of the soil/peat mixture and using this material to create a ridge around the edge of the hole.

Agriculture

The soil in crop fields needs a constant supply of fertilizer to keep crops growing quickly and healthily. Farmers can choose from a range of fertilizers and peat moss is a popular choice because it contains the essential nutrients required by all crop types. Farmers often mix peat moss with another fertilizer, such as crushed limestone and then spread this over the surface area of the field. They then mix the fertilizer with the soil by tilling it under. For potatoes and other vegetable crops, farmers place peat moss at the bottom of planting holes before sowing the vegetable seed.

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