An Overview on Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss and T&H Peat Moss Products

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Canadian Sphagnum peat moss is a natural, organic soil conditioner and a popular growing media ingredient that regulates moisture and air around plant roots for ideal growing conditions.

Sphagnum peat moss is harvested from peat bogs which are a part of natural wetland ecosystems in the northern hemisphere including Canada, Russia, northern Europe and the U.S.A. Approximately 3% of the earth’s surface is covered with peat bogs that have been developing for thousands of years. Peat lands (peat moss deposits) are formed on these wet lands as the production of biomass exceeds its decomposition. Thousands of years of accumulation of these partially decomposed sphagnum mosses has resulted deep deposits of peat moss.

Canada contains 119 million hectares (12 % of the country’s surface) or approximately 25% of the entire world’s peat lands. Canadian Sphagnum peat moss is mainly derived from partially decomposed Sphagnum moss species. 

Canadian horticultural peat industry operates on about 22,000 hectares of these natural peat bogs in an environmentally sustainable manner. Presently Canada supplies up to 80% of North America’s peat moss requirement.

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A natural peat bog in Eastern Canada

It is produced through proper harvesting and quality management practices to meet crop production needs of different end-users. The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA), peat moss producers and other associated organizations are doing their best to ensure that Canadian peat moss and peat moss based growing mixes meet all necessary specifications.  

Partially decomposed peat composed mainly of Sphagnum mosses is the preferred product for a horticultural peat operation. Vacuum harvesting is the most widely used harvesting method in Canada. During this harvesting method selected fields are drained and divided into separate fields by shallow parallel ditches to speedup the drainage. This allows the surface to dry enough that harvesting equipment can be used without fear of sinking. Then the top green vegetation is removed and the uppermost peat moss layer is harrowed to break the capillary flow and enhance the drying process. When the moisture is about 40-60%, a very thin layer of dry peat moss is collected using large vacuum harvesters. The harvested peat moss is stockpiled and hauled to processing facility for screening and packaging. As only a very thin layer is harvested during each operation the depletion rate of peat layer is very slow and it is possible to harvest a peat land for 20-30 years.

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Vacuum harvesting of peat moss

 

 Benefits of Peat Moss:

As peat moss harvested from natural peat bogs without any soil contamination, it is free of plant pathogens, weed seeds, mineral salts or heavy metals. Moreover, it has the following important properties.

  1. High water holding capacity: Peat retains up to 20 times its weight in moisture, and releases slowly as plants need it.
  2. Aerate heavy, clay soil: Spongy fibrous structure in peat moss helps to aerate heavy clay soils.
  3. Bind sandy soil: By adding body, peat moss helps to improve the structure of sandy soil and improve moisture and nutrient retention.
  4. Reduce leaching: Exchange sites in peat moss reduces leaching of mineral nutrients added to the soil. This will save on fertilizer.
  5. Protect soil: Peat moss protects soil from hardening and adds organic material.
  6. Make better compost: Peat moss speeds the composting process, reduces odors and controls air and water in the compost pile.
  7. It is an ideal growing medium ingredient for vegetables, flowers, lawns.

 

T&H Product Quality Guarantee:

Theriault & Hachey Peat Moss Limited has been a preferred Canadian peat moss supplier to the horticultural and mushroom industries for more than 40 years due to high quality peat moss products and exceptional customer service. T&H brand peat moss based professional growing mixes and custom-blended substrates are produced in a state-of-the-art “Slootweg” mixing line under a strict quality control procedure to meet product specifications to provide you with unparalleled quality growing mixes. Therefore Theriault & Hachey Peat Moss Limited guarantees you the quality of all T&H brand peat moss and growing mix products.

 

Prepared by:

Lakshman Ranasinghe, Ph.D, Agronomist

Director (R&D)

Theriault & Hachey Peat Moss Ltd.