Is Peat Moss and Peat Humus the Same Thing for Gardening?

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Garden guides frequently recommend different treatments and additives to improve soil quality so gardeners can grow healthy, strong plants. One of the common suggestions is some form of peat or peat moss, which is available in various forms.

Identification

Peat in its most basic form is merely natural plant residue that has not decomposed due to oxygen deprivation. Peat moss, also commonly called moss peat or Sphagnum peat moss, is made up of partially decomposed moss; Sphagnum peat moss only comes from Sphagnum moss.

Peat Humus

This type of peat is so decomposed that none of the plants it comprises are identifiable. It is usually a darker color and finer texture than peat moss.

Other Horticultural Peats & Mosses

Hypnum peat is largely composed of visible leaves and stems of a variety of Hypnum moss species. Sphagnum moss, frequently confused with Sphagnum peat moss, is harvested in sheets and pieces from bogs. Used either fresh or dried, it is typically used to line hanging plant baskets or other plant containers. It has no effects on soil performance or quality.

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