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What is the difference between peat and spaghnum peat moss?

Posted by Sean_McKinney N. Ireland (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 15, 04 at 8:12

Now that I have started reading I am in a position to ask what might be not already asked question.
The intention is for this bog to resemble wild Irish bogs, ie peat bogs, so a fair proportion of the fill will be peat. Here I get confused, I have been told NOT to use spaghnum but use proper peat. What I am used to seeing as peat, aside from the peat dug and dried for the fire, is a brown particulate frequently sold in compressed form in plastic bags.
I assume the latter is what I am meant to use.

Question, is this brown stuff primarily the dead remnants of spaghnum?

I have the impression it is, so that a wild peat bog is this stuff covered with a living crust of spaghnum.

Since a wild bog is, I believe, nutrient poor, why do some people add compost and loam to peat when making a bog? My understanding of compost and loam is that compost may be animal muck and or rotting grass/vegetable cuttings etc whlist loam is rotting tree leaves. Both compost and loam being, therefore, be presumably fairly rich in nutrients

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What is the difference between peat and spaghnum peat moss?

the peat you've seen for burning and the Bales of peat (or peatmoss) are the same just processed differently.

No, it is not the dead remnants of just Sphagnum but dead remnants of a wide variety of plants that have fallen over into the acid water and not decomposed much. what you are seeing are layer upon layer of not too decomposed plant matter. Not very eloquently put but I hope easily understood.

Those who add compost or loam are using the gardeners vernacular and are actually growing in a wetland garden. Seems to me most who "bog garden" are actually wetland gardeners. I have a "true" bog garden or as I call it an artificial bog garden because it is meant to be nutrient poor and grow those plants that grow in that sort of situation in nature.

I applaud your efforts at true bog gardening!

RE: What is the difference between peat and spaghnum peat moss?


RE: What is the difference between peat and spaghnum peat moss?

I learned the peat moss is not worth it if you grow CPs? It drys out too fast,and massy. I just started using long fiber S. moss on my Northern Pitcher Plants,and it does not dry out fast. Not cheap,but warth saving money on water and replacing plants.

RE: What is the difference between peat and spaghnum peat moss?

Can I collect peat moss from the forest? I'm not sure what it looks like but I collected some rotten wood and thought it looked like it. Would this be good for my garden?
Thank you

RE: What is the difference between peat and spaghnum peat moss?

Rotten wood is an excellent substitute for peat when gardening.

And no, you cannot collect peat from the forest. Peat is formed only in bogs and bog like areas. As Sean has said peat is dug and processed either dried in brick form for burning or baled for use in gardening.


I want to switch things around in my rock garden, should i transplant after everything dies off or can I do it now?

lady slippers

I found pink lady slippers in the forest near my cottage. Also saw some yellow ones on the side of the road. I transplanted the pink ones at the cottage and they are doing fine. This is northern ontario.

RE: What is the difference between peat and spaghnum peat moss?

There are different types of peat depending on whether the peat formed from grasses, mosses, or woody material. The consistency varies a lot too: from a jumble of still recognizable fibers and woody particles to completely decomposed muck.

I live in the midst of forested "bogs" (swamps) in a network of extinct glacial lakebeds and pitted outwash drainage valleys where today there is a creek, a river, seeps, springs, and nice little bakwaawong on my property.

Yesterday I was out digging in the peat making a channel. I'm always hoping to dig up mastadon bones. My peat has a wide range of types and consistencies depending on depth and where I dig. In places there are trees and shrubs growing. In other places my bog has sphagnum moss growing on the surface. I consider sphagnum moss to be that living green layer and the brown moss under it. The peat is deeper and looks more like dirt or mud. The moss you can tear out by hand. The peat usually need to be dug.

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