FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

 

Question: Ecopeat® versus Peat-Moss

Answer:

Characteristics

Ecopeat®

Peat Moss

pH

5.5 – 5.9
The perfect pH for plants (so no lime to increase pH prior to use)

Normally 4.0 – 5.0
(addition of lime is compulsory)

Water Holding Capacity

9 times its own volume, but it will not become water-logged and as excess water drains away

3-7 times its own volume depending upon country of origin and quality of product, with a tendency to waterlog

Time to 'Take Up Water'

Very rapid because Ecopeat® (microsponges) sponge-like structure which have the ability to absorb large quantities of water very quickly

Considerably slower than Ecopeat® because peat moss does not have a sponge-like structure but relies on its 'boat shaped' structure of the leaves of the sphagnum moss to hold water but modern harvesting techniques damage this structure

Soil longevity before grower must replace or add product due to degradation and / or shrinkage

Approx. 5 years with the reason being that Ecopeat® has a naturally high lignin content (approx 45%) which inhibits bacterial and fungal breakdown and thus allows the Ecopeat® to biodegrade much most slowly than traditional peat moss

6 months to 1 year depending upon the country of origin & quality of product

Ability to retain Air (oxygen) (AFP)

Ecopeat® has the ability to retain high AFP, at the same time being able to hold large quantities of water without becoming water-logged

When water is added to peatmoss it tends to reduce the AFP, thereby preventing vital oxygen getting to the roots

Shrinkage

Due to its high lignin and cellulose structure, it does not shrink and outlives the lifespan of peat.

Peat moss shrinks away from the sides of the pot/container and, when water is added, it simply drains down the sides. Also, where plants have to be kept for a long period of time, containers filled with peat moss have to be regularly "topped up" using more material and more labour therefore more cost.

Water retention ability

Very long, since Ecopeat® is composed of cells that both look and act like sponges and will hold 78% with excess water simply draining away. Also, the top 1 cm of the substrate produced with Ecopeat® dries quickly & this helps stop moisture evaporation

Peat-Moss has very little ability to retain water and therefore peat moss must be irrigated much more frequently

Degree of porosity

Excellent - without the addition of any other costly material. Ecopeat® normally has 96% pore space and this allows water to drain easily through Ecopeat® thus preventing water logging but, at the same time, holding maximum amounts of water (78%) in the micro sponges, which remains available - at low tensions - to the plants when/as required.

Also, Ecopeat® has no "dry spots"

Normally you must add costly coarse material like bark or perlite etc. to achieve a more acceptable porosity

If allowed to dry out, will it cap?

Due to Ecopeat’s® structure, the sponges remain open and will absorb water very rapidly

Peat moss, which has a high percentage of "fines" which come to the top of the pot/container, sealing the surface therefore making re-wetting very difficult, unless expensive wetting agents are used

Mixing with sand

For Root Zone mixes (i.e. golf course construction) as little as 10% Ecopeat® needs to be used to add the organic content to the Root Zone mix to obtain the required water retention and maximum percolation

Normally 20% peat moss is necessary. However, peat moss forms a "barrier layer" which reduces percolation

Do we need wetting agent to wet product

With Ecopeat® there is no need to use a "wetting agent" because of its unique sponge-like structure

Yes, with peat-moss you need a "wetting agent"

Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)

Ecopeat® has high CEC ratio thus nutrient ions are bound in the molecular structure and are not leached away but are held for release to the plant as required

Normally peat moss has a low CEC ratio unless additives such as perlite are added to help prevent the leaching away of nutrients and ions

Where sold

Worldwide, especially where water retention and preventing evaporation are major priorities

Worldwide

Question: Many people often talk of excessive salts in coconut husk based substrates; how does ECOPEAT deal with this problem?

Answer: Coconut husks from which ECOPEAT products are made from, do in fact contain naturally formed high levels of Potassium Chloride and lesser lever of Sodium Chlorides at the primary processing stage. These salts are also nutrients in another sense, but they are reduced to a beneficial level by four basic processes. Ageing, Ageing by Influenced by bacterial introduction, washing & buffering which means the products are chemically exchange & discharge of salts prior to it being used as a growing medium.

Question: I am conversant in using Peat Moss for my seedling trays in which I grow salt sensitive plants such as lettuce. Will Ecopeat's 25 Kilo bale break up in my old paddle type mixer?

Answer: Yes indeed, just as easily as the peat moss; maybe easier perhaps, but please take into consideration that ECOPEAT absorbs & retains much more water than peat moss and therefore you must add a little more water; in this instance, more liberally and quite Ideally, the soluble seed starter fertilizer in a hydration solution of around 60 LT per bale is recommended.

Question: How do we deal with the pH level of Ecopeat? Is it similar to Peat Moss?

Answer: The pH in Peat Moss is acidic and an addition of lime is the normal procedure to balance out the pH to average pH 6.5. The average pH level found in ECOPEAT is slightly more alkaline;5.8-6.4, which is the ideal level for seed and plant propagation.

Question: Can I use ECOPEAT in my present gutter system & containers where I grow Roses?

Answer: Ecopeat has a specialized blend of coir pith & buffered crushed husk which has proved itself as an ideal substrate for Roses. The blend combines a medium high water holding capacity with an excellent level of Air Filled Porosity and fast run off of excess water which also means that the excessive salts get washed off quicker than its counterparts which is essential for high quality blooms. Finer lateral roots develop very quickly and it is known that the overall production is increased by over 20% in the first and second years of cut flower production. What’s more, the substrate lends itself to the commercial lifespan of the plant resulting in an overall saving which equals profit.

Question: Can I grow plants such as Gerbera in Ecopeat?

Answer: Of course! In Gerbera production, a high Air Filled Porosity with fast run off & a lower water retention level is essential. Traditionally, a grower would formulate a blend of peat and perlite, grow rocks or vermiculite 60% : 40% ratio. This feature has been remarkably “engineered” by Ecopeat by blending the exact proportions of pith, fibre & crushed husk to simulate an Air Filled Porosity and Water Holding Capacity required to perform in the most efficient manner.

Question: Can I ask for a CROP SPECIFIC BLEND which I would like to know about?

Answer: Yes, indeed, at Ecopeat, we understand that most your problems and questions pose challenges; In this backdrop, we would like to assure you that we are backed by a group with a history of practical, “hands on” horticulturists who posses over two decades of tried & tested methods in your crop and a collective resources of over 300 years of horticulture & hydroponics.

 

 

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