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Reasons why we believe peat use can be phased out entirely by 2020
- Peat is not an essential element of professional or amateur growing media.
- A wide range of nurseries have largely or wholly eliminated peat usage within their growing media. The Royal Horticultural Society’s Plantfinder lists no fewer than 59 specialist retail nurseries that sell ‘peat-free’ plants, including many specialist leaders in their field. Additionally, wholesale nurseries are increasingly becoming peat free: for example, Containerised tree production at Hilliers is now 100% peat-free.
- Major horticultural institutions are largely peat free. Peat accounts for less than 0.7% of all growing media and soil conditioners used by the Royal Horticultural Society. Since 1989 and 2003, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the National Trust respectively, have taken the decision to use only peat-free composts, except for a few rare, significant historic or specialist acid loving plants (e.g. carnivorous and ericaceous plants).
- There are an a number of different peat free compost brands available now. Many brands use wood based materials as the main component, some are using coconut fibre. Commercially produced green compost is also being used but often mixed in with other material to reduce its pH and nutrient levels. It’s worth checking the information on the bag as the instructions for peat free compost are often different.
- The cost to UK society of the use of peat (the £32million/year through its carbon emissions) is not reflected in the price of peat. Effective Government intervention is required to spur action on peat replacement and to level the commercial differences between peat and non-peat growing media.