What Is Wrong With Peat Compost?

If you’re keen to be as eco-friendly as you possibly can when it comes to your gardening pursuits, you might want to make sure that you check whether the compost you’re using is peat-free or not, as peat is a non-renewable resource and extraction of it for horticulture is unsustainable, damages rare habitats and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

Figures from DEFRA show that the UK uses three million cubic metres of peat each year for horticulture, with 69 per cent of this used by amateur gardeners… so we all have our part to play in helping to make sure that our outdoor spaces are more environmentally friendly, it would seem.

Peat is produced when bog plants decompose. Typically, when plants decompose they turn into carbon dioxide, but because peat is formed in an oxygen-free bog, plants decompose into carbon, which then stays in the bog and doesn’t make its way into the atmosphere.

When we drain bogs to find peat for gardening, the reserves of stored carbon are unlocked and greenhouse gases are immediately released. When peat is spread on a garden, the carbon in it then turns to CO2, which contributes to greenhouse gas levels.

Mining for peat also damages the biodiversity of the bogs themselves, with plants, insects like butterflies and dragonflies, and rare birds all affected.

The good news is that there are alternatives to peat compost, so you should find it relatively easy to find a replacement. Always check your multipurpose composts and growing bags to see if they’re peat-free – or you could even think about making your own compost and homemade soil improver if you’re really keen to be as sustainable as possible.


For help with landscaping for your Heswall home, get in touch with LW Landscapes today.

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