Sphagnum peat moss is a valued, recognized, natural, organic reserve that is largely harvested for use as a soil conditioner or amendment in horticulture. New Zealand Sphagnum Moss is the finest moss available in the world and is used extensively growing orchids and other moisture loving plants. To preserve the vitality of those areas for many generations still, Premier Tech Horticulture actively participates in the restoration of peat bogs. However, with the wide range of alternatives available, I don’t see the need to damage fragile ecosystems that provide natural water filtration, house rare plants and wildlife, and help mitigate global warming. After the snow melts, warmer days bring sunny and dry weather to dry the peat moss in the bog. Sphagnum moss exports from Australia are subject to the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 and require a licence from Environment Australia. Of the 70 million tons of sphagnum peat naturally created every year in Canada, only 1.3 million tons are harvested. When should I order? Once the water drains, the peat is dug out, leaving pits or empty fields. Approximately 99 percent of Canada’s total national production comes from the combined operations of the 20 corporate groups that form the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA.) Peat moss, on the other hand, is the layer of decaying, water-saturated sphagnum moss that has sunk below the surface. Learn more about fresh Moss here. It’s basically a natural sponge. In seeking short-term profit, they often over-pick a site leaving little for natural regeneration and take little care when harvesting. Canadian peat producers say that the mining is sustainable and that harvested bogs are returned to living sphagnum moss peatland after five years. feedback form or by telephone. Peatlands also play a critical role in global warming. Use left/right arrows to navigate the slideshow or swipe left/right if using a mobile device Horticultural researchers are working to create a comparable growing medium from bio-wastes and synthetics. (Quebec Peat Moss Producers Association) Mosswool® can save money for the greenhouse farmer, because used slabs can be composted together with crop residues. Sphagnum moss was already used during World War 1 for treating wounds. Historically, peat has been harvested as fuel. But as of today, nothing matches the beneficial properties and cost efficiency of peat. Subsequently there are no longer any licenced/legal harvesting operations of Sphagnum on publicly managed lands within Tasmania. To me, that's an example of sustainable management. Peat moss and sphagnum moss differ in texture. Peatlands are wetland ecosystems where peat is formed. It is harvested by hand so it can regrow. Made In New Zealand from sustainable swamps. Are we encouraging people to destroy rare habitats just so our container plants can have extensive root systems? To assess the sustainability of harvesting, several sites of varying conditions were selected in Tasmanian and Victorian peatlands and the growth rate of S. cristatum measured. This may promote the growth of other plants (such as rushes and sedges) at these sites. Des pite uncertainty, findings suggest that the production of a sphagnum moss menstrual pad is provisionally workable with regards to ecological sustainability, meeting the needs of women, and technical capability. The most common use of peat has been as a fuel. Sphagnum moss is a plant that grows on the surface of soil or a swamp. This organization emphasizes sustainable harvesting practices and restoration efforts. Find out when to order. Since the 1950s, sphagnum peat moss has been a common ingredient in potting soils sold in the United States. It takes one thousand years for them to grow a yard in depth. It is resistant to the spreading of various fungi and diseases harmful to plants in growing media. The jury is still out on the question of whether or not sphagnum peat moss can be considered a renewable resource at the level at which it is harvested in Canada. Retaining at least 30% of the moss cover results in a faster recovery than leaving a bare peat surface. They won't look the same for another thousand years, but the commitment to restore the peatlands' properties assures that the habitat is not lost. Peat moss is an excellent soil amendment for your acid-loving plants. No. I can’t comment on peat moss, but coco coir is NOT sustainable. Sphagnum moss grows on top of peat bogs and is harvested while it is alive and then dried for commercial uses. But as with many natural resources, peat collection is often done exhaustively. Peat moss, on the other hand, consists of the dead and decaying material underneath living sphagnum moss. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); © 1972 - 2020 National Gardening Association, Times are presented in US Central Standard Time, Today's site banner is by EscondidoCal and is called "Roselle ". Historically, peat has been harvested as fuel. Sustainable harvesting. Some countries fill in the space with agricultural crops, agri-forest, or retention lakes. Most moss harvesting sites show signs of degradation, including altered drainage and a decline in plant growth. It is often referred to as the universal soil conditioner for its benefits to the soil. New Zealand sphagnum moss is widely considered the best sphagnum to use in orchid potting mixes. Leaving an even surface so that all remaining. Wholesale Flowers direct to your door. It is often referred to as the universal soil conditioner for its benefits to the … This page was created by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Tasmania). Once again, a restored peat bog will be as effective as natural peatlands for sequestering carbon and supporting animal … When peat is harvested, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. You can use it as a decorative enhancement or bedding in flower arrangements. A shade cover of trees and shrubs of between 20% - 40% increases growth rates. After harvesting, fields are �reseeded� with live, shredded sphagnum. ... sustainable solutions. In Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales, Sphagnum moss tends to die if it dries out in summer suggesting that Sphagnum peatlands in south-eastern Australia may be near their climatic limits. Sphagnum peat moss is a valuable, well-known, natural, organic resource that is predominately harvested for use as a soil conditioner or amendment by farmers, landscapers and gardeners. It is often referred to as the universal soil conditioner for its benefits to the soil. 5 star Chilean sphagnum moss is also a good choice. The moss will be a sustainable raw material in the future. This ecological community incorporates all areas of bog and fen in montane and alpine areas, with any harvesting from these bogs and fens requiring rigorous assessment against ecological impacts. If the moss continues to perform well in the hot mill furnace cooling tower, then the team may try it in other water treatment systems or power houses onsite. In Victoria, the growth rate at the high altitude (1380 m) site at Baw Baw was 1.9 cm/year and 5.2 cm/year at the sheltered site at 900 m in the Central Highlands. For many years, sustainable peatland management and the protection of ecosystems such as its sphagnum peat moss harvesting sites have been firm commitments at Premier Tech Horticulture. Peat moss, on the other hand, is the layer of decaying, water-saturated sphagnum moss that has sunk below the surface. The average growth rate of a peat ‘moss’ is around 1mm a year, ... sensitive issue. It is a unique and organic material that provides several benefits to gardeners including compaction prevention, an acidic pH, a sterile planting medium and great absorbency. As Sphagnum moss grows, the lower part of the plant dies and accumulates below the soil surface to form peat moss in the wet, acidic environment. We wonder if we're contributing to the demise of peatlands. Today many countries still use dried peat for fire. Sphagnum regeneration is slow, or sometimes absent, where a bare peat surface is left after harvesting. Terms of Service apply. In Victoria, it grew more than twice as fast in sheltered sites. It’s the decayed remains of live sphagnum moss. Allowing about 5 - 10 years regeneration before reharvesting. Should we continue to use a product that might damage precious natural habitats? I will continue to recommend sphagnum peat moss as a soil amendment and use it in my own gardens. Peat is acidic, absorbent, and low in nutrients. They are the largest terrestrial carbon sink, holding more carbon than all forests or grasslands. Harvested moss is put into nylon wool bales which weigh between 100 and 120 kg when wet. Questions concerning its content can be sent using the The propagation of diaspores is especially Culturally, peatlands have been used for thousands of years as food sources, medicine, burial grounds, and fuel. Sphagnum moss is a living plant when harvested, but when we purchase it, it has been thoroughly dried. Last published on: Sphagnum moss, the main species of a bog ecosystem, and other plant materials don't decompose in bogs. Sphagnum moss harvesting should not be carried out in the following: Where harvesting takes place, the impacts on a site can be minimised by: Biodiversity Monitoring SectionRosemary GalesLevel 5, 134 Macquarie StreetHobart TAS 7000Phone: 03 6165 4317Email: Rosemary.Gales@dpipwe.tas.gov.au. This irreversibly changes the habitat, reduces the numbers of endemic peatland species, releases carbon into the atmosphere, and alters the hydrology. Other wetland plants, such as sedges, grasses, shrubs, and reeds, contribute to peat formation in both climates. The sphagnum moss is loaded into lobster cages and lowered into the water. This antibacterial quality also benefits the growing media. After harvesting, fields are �reseeded� with live, shredded sphagnum. It is the basis of swamp land, forming over thousands of years. Sphagnum moss grows on the surface of bogs and peatlands. These areas provide habitat for common and rare species. Regrowth in a harvested peat bog will eventually form the peat of the future. A … They cover only 3 percent of the land, but contain 30 percent of the carbon. They store rainwater and slowly release it throughout the year, which helps maintain flow in streams and rivers during dry times. First, let's review some definitions. There are more than 160 species of Sphagnum mosses around the world. Illegal harvesting is an increasing problem. It’s basically a natural sponge. If it is, we should certainly consider switching to it. Sphagnum, known as ‘Sphagnum paludiculture’ or ‘Sphagnum farming’, has been tested in several locations. The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association, representing 14 major producers, ... "Any forest is sustainable if you plant more trees," but the original old-growth trees are gone. Bogs and fens form where sphagnum grows because both living and dead moss absorb and store water. Mosswool® slabs are made of sphagnum moss, which is harvested with a patented ecological method. Sphagnum farming is the cultivation of peat moss (Sphagnum) aiming for the production and harvest of peat moss biomass. Traditionally Sphagnum moss is used to cover metal rings as the base of holly wreaths at Christmas. Sphagnum farming is defined as the sustainable production of non-decomposed Sphagnum biomass on a cyclic and renewable basis. The challenges of growing Sphagnum are manifold. It is typically mixed with white specks of perlite, a mineral that is expanded by heating. 5 star Chilean sphagnum moss is also a good choice. Nothing is as simple as it seems. The middle photo is sourced from wikimedia commons . Sourcing sphagnum moss As part of MoorLIFE 2020 we are tasked with innovating a sustainable method of sourcing sphagnum moss, the fundamental plant of blanket bogs, which is sorely missing from much of the Peak District and South Pennines. Here in Minnesota and Wisconsin we do harvest Sphagnum moss is a sustainable way. Early results show that we may be able to grow sustainable, cost-effective sphagnum moss on rafts in reservoirs. ], For more info on Canada's sustainable sphagnum peat moss, go to:Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association, For more info on global peatland conservation, go to:International Mire Conservation Group, Guidelines for Global Action Plan for Peatlands. Nature had the idea first. It comes on a rating scale; AAA grade is what you want to use for orchids. What makes sphagnum moss an excellent sustainable raw material for substrates? Traditionally harvesting is usually carried out by hand, with other vegetation (usually rushes) cleared with a scrub cutter and rake. Well, let´s discuss the peatlands, the harvesting and the afterlife of the harvesting area. Even though harvest is carefully regulated, peat moss is not considered a renewable resource or a sustainable product. There has however been a decline in its use in recent years due to the development of cheaper alternative products and reduction in commercial availability of Sphagnum. They act as huge water filters, removing toxins and metals. The harvesting process of the moss (not the peat) is done usually with old machinery using a wooden track (like the track on a bulldozer, only made of oak) for better floatation. Although peat moss can be found in potting soils in nearly every gardening center in the world, harvesting peat moss is not a sustainable practice . These bales are carried out by either - dragging by hand, using tramways, three-wheeled motorcycles and bulldozers with varying degrees of damage to the site. In Tasmania, Sphagnum moss grew more than ten times as quickly in sheltered sites than higher sites. Peat is an organic material comprised of dead vegetation (leaves, stems, roots, trunks) that has partially decomposed in a water-saturated, oxygen-poor environment. Peat is the product of the natural processes that bogs go through. When peat is harvested, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association), Peat is renewable and will regrow if harvested in moderation. If it is, we should certainly consider switching to it. It is not a perfect substitute for peat moss, but for the purpose of this post let’s assume it is good enough to be used as an alternative potting media. Spaghnum moss is neutral in pH and is very fibrous. There are approximately 12,000 species of moss, but it’s only the 380 species of sphagnum moss that create peat. There remains some limited legal commercial harvest from private land within Tasmania, where Sphagnum may be legally harvested if the intent is not to clear the vegetation or substantially change the ecology of the community. Collecting sphagnum moss. As part of MoorLIFE 2020 we are tasked with innovating a sustainable method of sourcing sphagnum moss, the fundamental plant of blanket bogs, which is sorely missing from much of the Peak District and South Pennines.. Our experimental project to investigate the potential for growing sphagnum on rafts began in June 2017 on two disused United Utilities reservoirs in the Peak District. The high water table and mossy vegetation of Sphagnum peatlands result in a fragile ecosystem sensitive to disturbance. They also store large amounts of carbon, which helps reduce global warming. Chilean company, we supply and export the best natural product of excellent quality, sustainable and ecological. In tropical climates, peat consists mostly of trees. In cold climates, peat is typically formed from mosses. It thrives in New Zealand and other wet climates. Sphagnum peat moss is type of peat moss that is mostly found commercially in potting soils and garden soils. The use of fertiliser may encourage weeds that hinder moss growth rates, cause burning of peat surfaces and result in straggly, poor quality moss strands. The most important component of most Scottish peat is sphagnum moss, but all sorts of vegetable matter contribute to its makeup including grasses and sedges. Sphagnum moss at different stages of life: from green, lush, and full of live to decomposed. Although sphagnum moss is generally dominant, peat bogs are rich in other, sometimes rare, plant life, including cranberries, sundew and pitcher plants, evergreen shrubs and trees, and orchids. Spagmoss is produced from our West Coast wetlands in a sustainable and renewable way. Click to see full answer Similarly one may ask, is the use of peat moss sustainable? Basically, there are two forms of the sphagnum moss when sold commercially, long-fibered moss and milled moss. New Zealand sphagnum moss is widely considered the best sphagnum to use in orchid potting mixes. 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