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Today’s topic is Peat Moss vs Coco Coir. Peat moss is a traditional ingredient in seed and pot mixes. It’s also a popular addition to garden soils that brightens and increases moisture retention. Peat is extracted from wetlands which contain almost a third the world’s carbon. The continued extraction of peat moss could result in the release of carbon into the atmosphere, which can contribute to climate change.
Coco Coiris an excellent substitute for peat but it does have its environmental issues. The debate should not limit to Coco Coir versus peat moss. Although there are many other options, like compost, it is worth comparing them.
Peat Moss vs Coco Coir
What is Peat Moss?
Peat moss forms when sphagnum and moss are decomposed in wetlands over many years. The northernmost regions of the globe are home to the majority of peatlands. Canada and Russia are the largest peat producers, while the majority of American peat supply comes from Canada.
The color of completely decomposed peat will be dark with very little plant material remaining. Sometimes, the surface moss remains green and is used as a base to hang baskets or orchid planting medium. The peat is then harvested from the swamp and allowed to dry. After drying, it is sucked, sifted and pressed. in bales.
Peat moss is a great choice for plants that love moist soil. This peat moss has the best water retention properties. While not all plants like this level of moisture it is very common for many to be happy with it.
In most cases, peat moss is more profitable than coconut fiber. This makes it an attractive breeding medium.
Peat moss is a good choice if you are using tap water to water your plants. Peat moss, which is alkaline, can help promote a neutral pH in your soil.
What is Coco Coir?
Coco coir is made from coconut shells. The fruit must be removed before it can be sold. After softening the shells by soaking, the coconut fiber is separated from its core and used to make rugs, brushes, and hanging shirts.
To remove some sodium, chloride, and potassium salts in the core, it is rinsed with water. The core is then sifted, dried and packed into bags or blocks.
Coconut soil is often cited as a sustainable and eco-friendly product. However, others disagree because coconut fiber is made from commercial coconut fiber and requires a lot of water to make. Coconut soil is a useful product for the garden that can be used in a variety of ways, including sustainability.
Coco coir can also be useful as an addition to compost. Coco coir has a high-carbon composition, which can balance nitrogen-rich materials like food scraps or cut grass.
Coco Coir saturates faster than peat moss and its surface drys more quickly
Peat moss, which is water-repellent and waxy, can be hard to re-moisten once it has dried completely. Coir doesn’t have a reflective layer so it absorbs moisture easier. Its surface is more porous than peat’s, so it dries quicker. This could make it difficult to start fine seeds.
Gardeners could be fooled by a lack of moisture to think that houseplants need watering, when in fact the soil is moist. This drought surface prevents fungal infection and attenuation.
Both Coco Coir and Peat Moss are retaining water well, according to a study from the University of Arkansas. Peat moss holds 60 to 68 percent of its volume in water, while coconut fiber retains 73 to 80 percent. This is slightly more than sphagnum peat.
Related: 5 Things You Need to Know About Planting Succession
Is Peat moss more acidic than Coco Coir
Canadian Sphagnum Peat moss can be very acidic with a pH balance of between 3.0 to 4.5. To make it more suitable for plants, peat moss growers add lime to it before they sell it. Most varieties of peat have higher pHs. The pH of peat moss ranges between 5.0 and 6.5. The pH of reeds and sedge canes ranges from 5.0 to 5.5. Limestone may not be required for these types.
Coco coir, which has a pH of between 5.8 to 6.9, is considered the “sweetest”. It does not need limestone to raise its pH. In some cases, however, the pH of coco coir is so high that repeated watering with hardwater could cause it to become harmful to other plants.
Coco Coir is saltier than peat moss, and it does not absorb nutrients as well
The salts of potassium, sodium, and chloride found in Coco Coir are all harmful. Coco Coir requires less potassium to fertilize, but it is more efficient at absorbing other nutrients that peat moss.
Utah State University’s hydroponics experiment found that peat plants look larger and greener than coconut. The study found that electrical conductivity (a measure of the soluble salts in a solution) can decrease a plant’s water potential and therefore reduce plant growth. Both the EC of coconut fiber / perlite blendeds was significantly higher that that for peat /perlite blend. According to some manufacturers, Coir’s electrical conductivity has improved since 2005.
Pro-Mix warns that “initial fertilization rates might need to be adjusted upwards if you switch from a peat-based cultivar or to a medium peat-based for cultivation to ensure optimal nutrient level for optimal plant health.”
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Coco Coir takes longer to decay than peat moss, and can be reused
Coconut is a hardy substance that doesn’t separate from the sides of dishes. It also doesn’t dry like peat moss and will catch any water flowing through it. Because coconut fiber takes longer to decay than peat, it is less likely to shrink.
It is not a good idea to dump the coconut in the trash. Coco Coir can be reused if possible. However, you will need to clean it of any old debris and disinfect it if it is to be used to plant root stem or seed cuttings.
Peat moss plants can ripen slightly quicker than Coco Coir
In 1996, a University of Florida experiment showed that tomatoes grown in a mix of transplanted peat and tomatoes gave them redder fruits than tomatoes grown in coconut. The difference in coconut fiber and peat moss is not due to plant size. Coconut plants are slightly bigger.
Peppers did not have the advantage of maturing earlier. The difference in tomatoes was only 12 per cent, so coconut wood can be used as an alternative to peat.
Which is more sustainable? The jury is still out on this one.
Coco Coir is made from a substance that is frequently discarded so it can seem more sustainable than peat moss. Coconut processing can cause waterway pollution in countries that it is used. It is also required to ship it abroad to the United States. This requires fuel and increases global carbon emissions.
Peat is also a carbon-releasing agent. However, only 1.3 million tons are harvested annually as compared to the 70 million tons that are allegedly produced each year. The global supply of peat is being replenished, which could prevent further carbon emissions.
You can mix Coco Coir and peat moss to make a compromise. Pro-Mix and other companies offer this option. Combining coconut and moss, such as this Amazon option, could help to reduce some of the problems that both media can cause while still combining the benefits.
Gardeners can use both peat moss and Coco Coir as useful tools. Both have some similarities, but there are also many differences. The best option is one that matches the soil composition, plants you wish to grow, and other factors.