Peat (turf) has the perfect properties for any growing medium:

  • abundance of pore spaces for air and water;
  • lightweight;
  • relatively weed-free;
  • relatively disease-free;
  • easily obtained.

If plants need more nutrients or a higher pH, other substances can be mixed with the peat without losing the beneficial qualities.

Gardeners all over the world use peat moss as a soil amendment or an ingredient in potting soil in horticulture, as it is an important component of most potting soils and seed starting mediums. It has an acid pH, so it’s ideal for acid plants, such as blueberries or rhododendrons.

Peat holds several times its weight in moisture, and releases the moisture to the plant roots slowly over time. It also holds onto important nutrients so that they aren’t rinsed out of the soil when you water the plants.

Important to note that the nature of peat varies according to its original botanical components and its state of decomposition. For example, sphagnum peat will be light and spongy, whereas sedge peat will be characterized by mats of linear fibers.

The colour of peat commonly reflects its age and degree of decomposition. Younger peat is pale yellowish brown and the plant remains are still identifiable. Older peat is more decomposed, darker in colour.

Also, the degree of decomposition of turf is measured using the “Von Post” scale, where H2 refers to lightly decomposed spongy fibrous turf and H8 to a much more decomposed black turf.

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