Air Content

Maintenance of the air content of peat during growth is of vital importance for good root development and plant quality, particularly where plants remain in containers for long periods.

  • Irish peat is derived mainly from Sphagnum imbricatum while Baltic peat is derived mainly from S. cuspidatum. S. imbricatum has larger branch and stem leaves meaning that air space is still likely to be high even with fine material such as the 0-3mm fraction of peat.
  • Milling is carried out with a blade miller to provide larger particle size and the Peco System is primarily used to harvest and stockpile the peat. This results in a product with a better physical structure and lower dust content.
  • The air content of young peats declines over time, sometimes markedly, as they degrade. The more decomposed Irish peat degrades slowly in pots and maintains air supply to plant roots over a longer period.

Air filled porosity of peat substrates in pots after 42 weeks: work of Theo Aendekerk at Boskoop Research Station in the Netherlands.

Values linked by the same letter do not significantly differ (Duncan’s multiple range test p=0.05)

Air filled porosity

Data from Aendekerk,T (2001). Decomposition of peat substrates in relation to physical properties and growth of Skimmia. Acta Horticulturae, 548, 261-268.