Mostly, peat is used in seedling cultivation
Peat is an unabandonable substrate in horticultural industry till now, and environmental impact will prove the usage of peat will continue in the sector due to its high demand
Several obstacles like cost, quality and technical problems provide high proportion usage of peat in media.
Many different mediums and mixtures of them have been used in growing seedlings in recent years, especially peat.
Sphagnum peat is an important component of potting mixes. It is often used alone or in combination with other materials such as vermiculite or perlite. Sphagnum peat is lightweight and easy to handle. It provides favorable conditions for good root growth, and is low in weed seeds and disease-producing organisms.
Container-grown plant substrates
Nursery producers grow plants in containers, mainly using substrates based on peat. General forms of peats were started to use as peat-lite, heavy peat, block peat, also bark and wood chips mixture for growing media in the container systems.
The peat becomes the main component for containerized mixture in commercial production and also very good component for vegetable and ornamental growing media when compared with all other organic materials for horticultural crops.
Peat humus – peat that is fully decomposed so that none of the original plants can be identified.
HUMUS – the basis of soil fertility
Humus is particularly important in maintaining and improving soil fertility. It is formed by the decomposition of organic matter. Humus promotes soil structure, increases water permeability in clay soils, improves aeration and facilitates soil tillage, as well as reduces soil density and creates favorable conditions for root growth. Organic matter increases the buffer capacity of soils, especially in sandy soils, and makes them more resistant to pH changes. At the same time it also increases the microbiological activity in the soil and promotes the nitrification process.
In the horticulture industry, the peat has different forms that are commonly used as peat humus and sphagnum peat moss (live portion or young residue of the plant).
- The minimum decomposed type of peat is called as white peat moss which is light tan to brown in color, it has a clear and proper fluffed structure.
- Peat humus often known as the reed sedge and hypnum moss are used to derive peat humus which provides a better level of decomposition and has generally dark brown to black color and a low capacity of moisture retention. Peat rich in humus is also a major constituent for substrate. https://journals.ashs.org/horttech/abstract/journals/horttech/8/4/article-p515.xml
- Sphagnum peat moss humus. Unlike from reed sedge extracted from reeds, sedges, cattails, marsh grasses, and other associated swamp plants sphagnum humus is originated from sphagnum peat moss.
Peat moss and peat humus share the same “peat” component in their name because they can both found in peat bogs and they both contain decayed peat Sphagnum moss (a very specific type of moss). However, different proportion and state of decomposition play a key difference among them.
Peat moss is given entirely by Sphagnum moss at a different level of decomposition (but in general not totally decomposed). Ordinary peat humus contains a mix of decayed organic matter (other types of plants and animals). Highly decayed Sphagnum moss is found not only at the bottom of peat bogs as it is the oldest material in the pot bog and, hence, with the largest time to decompose.
Peat humus is also more expensive than peat moss
Despite the questionable fact that peat humus not recommending for potting soil (it refer to ordinary peat humus) as a replacement of peat moss, smart blend in a limited amount of sphagnum peat humus together with white and block peat has the convincing benefits over a simple white or brown peat.
NOTE: Humus cannot support healthy life on its own. It should make up only a certain percentage of ideal growing media.
FUNCTIONALITY of the PEAT HUMUS
Sphagnum peat humus has important structural function that gives to the soil mix in which is in the capability to retain nutrients, heat from the sunlight, and moisture.
Sphagnum peat humus is a common potting soil ingredient used for soil enrichment. Unlike white Sphagnum peat, which comes from bogs surface, peat humus is more decomposed, but also not fully. This does not mean that it is located on the bottom of the bog, but on contrary it is harvested from the upper layers. Sounds incredible, but that’s a fact. In the upper layers, under special geo-biological conditions, part of the peat humidifies into peat humus.
BLACK or WHITE?
Peat humus is also referred to as black peat – it is dark brown to black in color.
Soil without humus, is inactive, lacking the ability to produce quality plants and flowers.
– improve the soil environment.
– increases the activities of microbes.
– changes the chemical and physical properties.
– increases the nutrients store and water holding capacity.
– improves the soil structure and reduces the bulk density.
Experiments have shown that the decline infertility is not entirely a result of the removal from the soil of the essential fertilizing elements—nitrogen, phosphoric acid, potash, or lime—but is due in many cases to getting the land out of condition through a loss of humus.
Agriculturally considered,the two most important points regarding the composition of humus are the presence of nitrogen as a constant constituent, and the chemical union of the humus with potash, lime,and phosphoric acid, for ming humates.
NITROGEN IN HUMUS.
Humus,as ordinarily obtained from the soil, contains from 3 to 12 percent of nitrogen.
Therefore, nitrogen is one of the prominent constituents of humus, it is easily understood how a loss of humus has also resulted in a loss of nitrogen. This decline in the nitrogen content of the soil is one of the most serious results of the loss of humus from the soil.
MINERAL MATTER IN HUMUS
Besides being a great reservoir of nitrogen, humus is an indirect means of supplying the plants with other fertilizing constituents. Humus as it occurs in the growing media is combined with potash, lime, phosphoric acid, and other compounds which are essential as plant food.
VALUE OF HUMATES AS PLANT FOOD
The value of these various forms of humates as plant food has been the subjec to extensive investigations and many of these experiments indicate that the humates, when acted upon by the proper microorganisms, are very valuable forms of plant food.
Besides performing the useful functions just discussed, which are essentially chemical in character, humus profoundly modifies the physical properties of growing media.This is most marked in relation to the water content and temperature of the soil.
HUMUS AND THE WATER SUPPLY OF CROPS
A growing media rich in humus not only absorbs more water, but holds it more tenaciously in time of drought than a media poor in humus. Infact, this is one of the most important differences between growing medias rich in humus and those poor in humus.
WATER HOLDING CAPACITY
The loss of humus from the soil (growing media) results in decreasing its power of storing up and properly supplying crops with water. Substrates with a liberal amount of humus are capable of more effectually with standing drought than similar ones with less humus.
Think of humus as being a big sponge that can hold up to 90% of it’s weight in water. This water holding capacity of humus is why humus rich growing media will remain moist for weeks longer than white peat alone without humus.
Humus has a negative charge which means that many of the nutrients plants require stick to humus, including ammonium (source of nitrogen), calcium, magnesium and phosphorous to name a few. The humus sponge holds onto these nutrients and prevents rain from washing them away. When a plant root comes in contact with it, the plant root is able to remove the nutrients from the humus sponge.
FERTILIZERS DEPOSIT and RELEASING SYSTEM
Humus-containing materials, like the Sphagnum peat humus, have the power of combining with the potash and phosphoric acid of the soil to form humates which are readily assimilated by plants when acted upon by the proper soil organism. These humates thus increase to a marked extent the available plant food in the soil.
In substrates where there is a good stock of reserve materials it is cheaper to cultivate fertility through the agency of humus than it is to purchase it in the form of commercial fertilizers.
On the other hand businesses with very individual planting methods and very demanding plants need very specialized growing media.
SPECIAL FOR SOUTH CLIMATES
In hot climates evaporation and transpiration are increased and not only. Greenhouses warm up and is demanding for water circulation.
Black humus peat is very heavy (450-500kg/m3) , which is why it is very expensive to use it alone
Areapeat Tray Seedling Mixes with white milled, white block (sod), and finest dark peat have high water holding capacities which save water by keeping it easily available for plant uptake. At the same time, very good aeration properties are maintained. The mixture does not shrink, allowing free access to the root area for air.
Winning with Areapeat substrate advanced proprieties:
• Darkest substrates for tray seedlings
• High water holding capacity for warm south climate zones
• Fast absorption of water without water repellent effect
• Effecient media antishrinking properties with Sphagnum block peat particles
• Economic mix for transportation (total weight not exceeded)
• High growing properties
And one more:
• Usable for organic farms. Is still fertile without inorganic fertilizers and other additives.