Sphagnum moss peats have a fibrous texture, high porosity, high water retention and a low pH. They are used extensively in horticulture as a source of bulky organic matter and are particularly valued as an ingredient of potting composts because, with their stability, excellent porosity and high water retention, they can be used to create an almost ideal root environment.
Sedge peats tend to contain more plant nutrients than sphagnum moss. They are darker, more decomposed and have a higher pH level, but also have a slightly lower water-holding capacity. They tend to be used for making peat blocks. Considerable efforts are being made to find alternative materials to replace peat in order to avoid destroying valued wetland habitats from which they are harvested.
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