Navigation Links
For peat's sake: Alternative growing media

TURIN, ITALYPeat, or semi-decayed vegetation matter, has been used by commercial growers and amateur gardeners since the middle of the 20th century. Peat is added to potting soil to help retain moisture and provide additional nutrients. As the demand for peat grew, acres of peat bogs were being drained and destroyed. Now, concerns about the environmental impact of extracting peat from wetlands are mounting. And as peat supplies are reduced, the cost naturally increases. Diminishing supplies and environmental and economical concerns are encouraging researchers to find viable alternatives to this popular growing medium.

A recent research study led by Federica Larcher and Valentina Scariot of the University of Turin's Department of Agronomy evaluated five materials as partial peat substitutes. The results, published in HortScience, show these alternatives have potential.

The study focused on growing camellia, a woody plant that prefers acidic soils and is often grown in containers for decorative purposes. Three varieties of camellia ('Charles Cobb's', 'Nuccio's Pearl', and 'Dr. Burnside' ) were tested using a combination of peat and the following peat alternatives: green compost such as grass clippings and leaves, pumice, coconut husks broken down into fibers, composted coconut "peat", and pine bark. Each variety was also grown using the standard commercial Sphagnum peat as a control.

Plant growth and the ornamental quality of each plant was evaluated during each phase of cultivation, potting, before repotting, before and after branching and at the end of the experiment. "The alternative growing media testedperformed as well or better than the standard substrate," the study reports. However, green compost was the exception. Plants grown in green compost had the lowest evaluations in all categories. Green compost also increased pH levels with negative effects on plants.

The impact of the different growing media seemed to be most notable during the first 2 months. After that time, no relevant differences were noticed. "Overall, coconut fibers and pine bark resulted in being the most suitable partial peat substitutes," stated Larcher, adding that none of the plants grown in any mixture showed signs of malnutrition or toxicity at any point during the study.

Coconut fibers are recommended as the best option considering technical and economic factors. The study recommends that adjusting fertilization and irrigation practices to make the most of coconut fiber and peat mixtures will help reduce the costs and losses for nurseries.


Contact: Michael W. Neff
American Society for Horticultural Science

Related biology news :

1. Biologists discover link between CGG repeats in DNA and neurological disorders
2. GEN reports on alternative feedstocks for ethanol production
3. Capillary mats labor-saving, economical alternative to hand watering
4. Methyl bromide alternatives for California strawberry nurseries
5. A natural, alternative insect repellent to DEET
6. Methyl bromide alternatives indicated for North Carolina tomato production
7. Vidalia onions: Alternative to hand-transplanting proven effective
8. Parasite-resistant peppers green alternatives to chemical pesticides
9. During exercise, the human brain shifts into high gear on alternative energy
10. Alternative to burning: environmentally sound disposal for wood chips
11. CSHL team traces extensive networks regulating alternative RNA splicing
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
For peat's sake: Alternative growing media
(Date:6/2/2016)... Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, Biometrics & ... & Other Service  The latest report from ... of the global Border Security market . Visiongain ... billion in 2016. Now: In November 2015 ... and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... , May 12, 2016 ... just published the overview results from the Q1 wave ... the recent wave was consumers, receptivity to a program ... data with a health insurance company. "We ... to share," says Michael LaColla , CEO of ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product ... and Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate ... solutions.      (Logo: ... to provide their customers enhanced security to access ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Rolf ... join the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ... and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international efforts, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority ... as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use ... height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics ... development and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class ... Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting ... significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: