Caption: Cotton Grass
Caption: Peatland restoration in action
What is a peat bog? Peatbogs are wetlands composed of partially decomposed sphagnum moss and plants that builds over time – 1mm per year! Peat bogs form some of the world’s most scarce habitat and provide a unique home for a wealth of plants, animals and insects. Developed over thousands of years - peat contains vital and unique historical evidence of an area and its inhabitants.
Why save them? Whilst breaking down plants, bogs lock up carbon however, mass harvesting for horticulture releases this carbon into the atmosphere, speeding up global warming and climate change. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature ‘Ten million tonnes of carbon dioxide are lost to the atmosphere from the UK’s damaged peatlands each year.’
Peatlands also help maintain water quality, and have a role to play in natural flood management and flood prevention.
The recognition of the importance of peatlands is rapidly gaining momentum and recently the RHS released a statement declaring their aim of ceasing to sell peat-based products after 2019. Read their full statement here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/about-the-rhs/policies/rhs-statement-on-peat
Today, growing media suppliers have developed a new generation of composts, specifically designed to replace peat and in some cases outperform peat.
Now more than ever it is important that gardeners play their part by:
- Only buy compost buy that has ‘peat-free’ on the packaging;
- Choose plants that are grown in a peat-free compost,
- Ask local retailers to stock peat-free products.
But did you know that - as well as making one of the best peat free ranges of compost that Dalefoot Composts also restore thousands of hectares of damaged peatlands across the UK from the Scottish Cairngorms to the Dartmoor moors. Working for clients such as Natural England, The Yorkshire Peat Partnership and Cumbria Wildlife Trust we have built innovative machinery and techniques to restore both upland peat bogs and lowland mire to become active bogs once again.
The picture to the left shows two of our team restoring a site the size of 1064 Olympic swimming pools using a technique where areas of bare peat are healed with turf from within the site. Erosion gully walls and peat hags are also re-profiled and covered with donor turf. As one of our operators said – ‘one of the best jobs in one of the best locations….’