Research Papers

Much of the research work undertaken at Bord na Móna on the horticultural qualities of peat has been published in proceedings of the International Peat Society and in the technical communications of the International Society for Horticultural Science, reported in Acta Horticulturae.

Stability of Peat Alternatives and Use of Moderately Decomposed Peat as a Structure Builder in Growing Media

M. Prasad
Bord na Móna Research Centre, Newbridge, Co Kildare, Ireland

M.J. Maher
Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Kinsealy Research Centre, Malahide Road, Dublin 17, Ireland

Keywords: Substrate, shrinkage, breakdown, lignin, FT-IR, coir, Hortifibre, Pietal, Toresa, lime rate, H5 peat

Abstract
Breakdown of the physical structure of a growing medium can have a detrimental effect on long term crops such as container nursery stock. In this situation, the physical stability of the growing medium becomes important in maintaining favourable growing conditions. Some materials which have been suggested as substitutes for peat can undergo a large and rapid loss of structure.

Read more: Stability of Peat Alternatives and Use of Moderately Decomposed Peat as a Structure Builder in Growing Media (66KB | PDF document)


Relative Breakdown of Peat and Non-Peat Growing Media

Munoo Prasad and Joanne O’Shea
Bord na Móna Research Centre
Horticulture Division
Newbridge
County Kildare, Ireland

Keywords: H5 (Irish) peat, H2 (Swedish) peat, H2 (Finnish) peat, H3 (Baltic) peat, H4 (German) peat, wood fibre, air space, steaming, FTIR, Lignin, Cellulose

Abstract
Incubation techniques were used to study the breakdown of peat and non peat materials. Stability of the growing media is important, particularly when the crops are grown over a long term e.g. large ornamental plants in pots and for closed systems e.g. roses. If the growing media is not stable it can result in anoxic conditions for the roots leading to poor growth.

Read More: Relative breakdown of peat and non peat growing media (336KB | PDF document)


Physical and Chemical Properties of Fractionated Peat

M. Prasad
Bord na Móna Research Centre, Newbridge, Co Kildare, Ireland

M.J. Maher
Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Kinsealy Research Centre, Malahide Road, Dublin 17, Ireland

Abstract
Moss and lack peat were graded into different size fractions. When lime was added to these fractions the coarser grades showed a greater pH response. Crushing the peat particles resulted in a drop in pH in the coarser grades.

Read more: Physical and chemical properties of fractioned peat (306KB | PDF document)


Moderately Decomposed Peat as a Structure Builder for Younger Peats in Growing Media

M. Prasad
Bord na Móna Research Centre, Newbridge, Co Kildare, Ireland

M.J. Maher
Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Kinsealy Research Centre, Malahide Road, Dublin 17, Ireland

Keywords: substrate, shrinkage, breakdown, lignin, FT-IR, H4–5 peat, H2 to H4 peats, sod peat, milled peat

Abstract
Potting media manufacturers often add a certain amount of H5 peat to younger peats to reduce shrinkage. This is important for longer term crops. Trials were conducted to study if the addition of H5 peats would reduce the shrinkage of the growing medium.

Read More: Moderately Decomposed Peat as a Structure Builder for Younger Peats in Growing Media (133KB | PDF document)


Relationship between Particle Size and Air Space of Growing Media

Munoo Prasad and Dearbháil Ní Chualáin
Bord na Móna Research Centre
Newbridge
Co. Kildare
Ireland

Keywords: sandbox, sphagnum, particles <1mm, composted greenwaste, bark, coir, pumice

Abstract
Measurement of physical properties of growing media is essential as crops have different aeration and water requirements. The method adopted by EN for air space uses a sandbox. However, the method takes at least 10 days and is not suitable for growing media manufacturers. We studied the effect of particle size <1mm on air space on peats and combination of peats from Ireland, Germany, Baltic States, Sweden and Finland.

Read More: Relationship between Particle Size and Air Space of Growing Media (47KB | PDF document)