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Peat Moss vs Coco Peat

Peat Moss vs Coco Peat: What’s the Difference?

Gardeners like you are mainly in the dilemma of which is better, coco peat vs peat moss? People find it really confusing and often mistake them for the same, though they are not.

This blog will give you a clear view of coco vs peat moss in detail.

Before we begin, let us briefly describe the coco peat and peat moss.

What is coco peat?

In terms of all-natural soil replacements, coir, or coconut fiber, in its various forms, is the new kid on the block. Coco peat is utilized in hydroponic farming because it retains water and repels fungus gnats and certain illnesses and its root-supporting structure. Despite its current popularity, it functions in the garden similarly to peat moss.

Coconut husks are simply thrown away if they are not repurposed. As a result, using coco peat is both environmentally and economically beneficial.

Coconut coir is a byproduct of the processing of coconuts. The fibrous husks of coconuts are pulverized or decomposed to create a product that is comparable in weight and texture to peat moss but darker in color. Sri Lanka and India produce the majority of the world’s coconut fiber.

What is peat moss?

Peat moss derives from peat bogs and is a typical soilless growth medium. Swamps or marshes loaded with decaying sphagnum moss are known as peat bogs. The end result is a soft, fluffy soil-like substance.

Peat moss is a non-renewable resource. It takes a long time to regenerate, and removing it could negatively impact peat bog ecosystems. Peat moss helps soil retain water, allowing essential nutrients and minerals to stay in place for a longer period. Peat moss has the ability to absorb 20 times its weight in water and slowly release it. It is a gardener’s favorite pick.

Now we will cover the topic “coco vs peat moss” in detail.

Coco peat VS Peat moss

We are listing the 5 ways to distinguish coco vs peat moss on a broad level.

1) Coco Peat vs Peat Moss: Sources

Despite their similar appearances, each comes from a different source. Peat moss is reaped from peat bogs, which are degraded sphagnum moss swamps or marshes. The majority of peat moss in the United States comes from Canada. 

Coco peat, the fibrous husks are degraded or pulverized into a substance that looks like peat moss but is usually deeper in color. The majority of coconut fiber is sourced from Sri Lanka or India.

2) Coco Peat vs Peat Moss: Cost

While peat moss appears to be a cost-effective option, it may require additional supplements for your plants to thrive, increasing the entire cost.

Coco peat is slightly more expensive than peat moss. Coconut fiber is available in various forms, including loose coco peat, compressed bricks, seed starter coco discs, coir pots, coir mulch mats, coco chips, coir planters, and coir planting poles. These all are available in different sizes and weights. You can buy them according to your preference. Prices and availability may differ based on where you reside and the demand for gardening supplies in your area.

3) Coco Peat vs Peat Moss: pH level

Peat moss is acidic, with a pH range of 3.3 to 4.0, which is beneficial to plants that love acid. However, it is harmful to plants that cannot tolerate low pH levels. Peat moss is commonly used as a soil amendment to balance and acidify overly alkaline soils due to its low pH. 

Note: A neutral pH is desired for most planting needs. Hence lime is frequently applied to peat-based soils before planting. Lime is commonly found in peat moss-based potting soils.

On the other hand, coco peat has a pH range of 5.2 to 6.8, making it more plant-friendly. Usually, most of the plants adore coco peat. Adjust the fertilizer formulation as needed for homemade coir potting mixes that require less potassium and more nitrogen.

4) Coco Peat vs Peat Moss: Water

When wet, coconut coir absorbs more water than peat moss, which tends to shed water when wet. Coco peat absorbs less water because it takes less time to become saturated. Despite claims that coir has significantly better water holding capacity than peat moss, ground coconut fiber coir holds an average of 8 to 9 times its dry weight in water.

When dry, peat moss shrinks and expands when wet, whereas coir stays the same whether wet or dry. Peat moss and coconut fiber have different textures, and the coarseness of the product can affect its ability to store water.

5) Coco Peat vs Peat Moss: Sustainability

Despite industry leaders ‘ disagreements, wetland ecologists believe peat moss is extracted at unsustainable rates. Even with restoration efforts, carbon dioxide is produced at a higher level due to the decomposition of mulch and other organic matter in peat bogs, which takes at least 25 years to replace. As the world’s temperatures continue to rise, this contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, which is a severe concern.

On the other hand, Coco peat is a coconut harvest waste product. Water is used to remove the outer husks, which are then processed into a variety of goods. Coco peat is used in a wide range of soil additives. Coconut fiber is a more sustainable resource than peat moss because it is always available and grows on trees. 

Other issues with coco peat include:

  • The use of chemicals and water in husk processing.
  • The employees’ excessive exposure to dust.
  • The need for additional fertilizer to feed the coconut trees.
  • The depletion of soil nutrients due to growing coconuts in bulk and exporting organic matter is perhaps the most significant long-term consequence of coconut coir processing. It takes a lot to restore all of that. 

When you consider the environmental damage that coconut farming and coir production do, it’s hard to argue that it’s more sustainable and environmentally benign than peat moss.

We have covered the main differences between coco peat vs peat moss. Now we will dive into the advantages of both of them.

Advantages

Coco peat

Coco peat has a number of advantages in the garden. 

  • It has good drainage while also retaining moisture to make it available to plants. 
  • Decomposition takes years, and it can be washed and reused season after season. 
  • It’s also sterile and lacks microorganisms that could infect plants.
  • Coco peat improves the porosity of the soil mix. This allows the soil to be lax and airy helping in more useful root development. Better root development impacts better plant growth and satisfying outcomes. 
  • High porosity, high moisture holding ability, and high cation exchange ability jointly mean that the amount of coco peat needed per plant can be much less.
  • Unlike other peat, coco peat is more manageable to rewet. Dry coco peat is extremely hydrophilic and fast to absorb water making it easy to operate.
  • Coco peat has natural trichoderma which serves as a bioagent against dangerous pathogens. It gives a great atmosphere for helpful fungi and bacteria to grow.

Peat Moss

  • It raises the soil’s acidity, which benefits acid-loving plants like blueberries and azaleas. 
  • Decomposition takes years, making it a cost-effective and practical soil medium or amendment. 
  •  Peat moss also holds a lot of water, holding several times its weight and making it available to plants. 
  • Although peat moss does not contain nutrients, it does a good job retaining fertilizer nutrients so that plants have easy access to them. 
  •  Peat moss also doesn’t include weed seeds or harmful microbes that can be found in some composts.
  • The importance of the weight of plants grown in hanging baskets and pots is important to consider. Peat moss is usually employed as a replacement for stones in the bottom of planters hung from the canopy.
  • Peat moss, in comparison to normal dirt, does not get compressed underfoot. Peat moss’s porous consistency is well suited for use as topsoil.

Everything has two sides, and so do coco peat and peat moss. Here are some of their disadvantages of them.

Disadvantages

Coco Peat

  • In India, cows are allowed to roam freely, which can be an issue for coconut coir producers because animal dung can easily contaminate coco coir. 
  • Fiber is extracted from ripe coconuts using freshwater. This process may involve using a lot of freshwaters.
  • If the coconuts aren’t entirely ripe, they’re brine-processed, which might result in high salt levels in the coir. 
  • Using coir also necessitates lowering potassium levels in fertilizers while raising nitrogen levels.
  • Coco peat naturally has salts in it. This indicates that only the best-rated coco peat can be used for most soil blends. It also implies that nutrient arrangement has to be modified keeping the salts available in coco peat in mind.
  • Suppliers with a lack of knowledge and the application of the coco peat might give you coco peat that is not fitted for its application. This happens due to the high demand for the product. 

Peat Moss

  •  Peat moss has an acidic basis, with a pH range of 3.5 to 4.  Peat moss’ high acidity levels are beneficial to some plants, but you must add the limestone to raise the pH level. 
  • Plants can be contaminated by bacterial and fungal spores found in peat moss. 
  • Snails are also attracted to peat moss, despite the fact that coir is not their favorite material.
  • Peat moss is lacking in nutrients in comparison to other organic compounds like waste compost. Also, it doesn’t contain any useful bacteria in it.
  • The prolonged time it takes for peat moss to produce makes it a non-renewable source. Carbon dioxide is emitted into the air, and it makes the path clear for methane to be discharged when peat moss is produced. These Greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide are harmful to the environment. 
  • The price of peat moss is considerably higher than that of normal soil.

We have listed the main differences between coco vs peat moss. Here are some of the most asked questions about the coco peat vs peat moss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1: Is it good to use peat moss for the plants?

Peat moss is ideal for plants that thrive in damp soil. The water retention properties here are practically unrivaled in the industry. While not every plant prefers this level of dampness, many do well with it.

In the majority of circumstances, peat moss is less expensive than coconut coir. It could make it a more cost-effective growing medium.

Peat moss is a good option if you’re watering your plants with tap water. Because tap water is alkaline, peat moss, which is acidic, can help your soil achieve a more balanced pH.

Ques2: Is coco peat beneficial to plants?

Coco peat is an excellent choice for gardening. It holds more water than peat moss. It does not store it for long. Coco peat may also be used with a wide range of plants without the requirement for acidity-balancing additives.

Plants can be grown in a coir mixture that contains up to 80% coconut. It may be an appealing choice for obtaining some of the advantages of both natural and coconut soil. It’s even possible to utilize coco peat year after year after reconditioning. It is yet another advantage that contributes to the medium’s long-term viability.

Ques3: Is coco peat a better alternative to the soil?

Coco peat can be a vitality-promoting growing medium if you can water your plants frequently. Plants grow faster and healthier in this coco peat or a mixture than in regular soil alone in many circumstances.

Do you know, that coco peat is also a great addition to your compost pile?

It has a high carbon content, which can help to balance nitrogen-rich elements like food scraps and grass clippings. Many gardeners appreciate the fact that coco peat takes a long time to degrade. In this case, coco vs peat moss, coco wins! It contributes to it being a powerful growth ally that, when properly reconditioned, can survive for two to three growing seasons.

Ques4: Which should I choose, coco vs peat moss?

With the results of several studies and each media having its own set of disadvantages and benefits, a clear winner is difficult to determine. Both mediums have a role in the gardening world, and both will be used to improve garden soils around the world in the future. Only you and your garden can pick which soilless potting option is best for you and your garden now that you have all of the facts.

Coco peat clearly outperforms peat moss in terms of sustainability and longevity. While both solutions provide equivalent benefits for plant growth, peat moss has a bigger negative impact on the environment as a product. 

Ques5: Can I use my coco peat again?

You can use coco peat again the next season if you take the effort to recondition it once the growing season is done properly. The fibers can survive for years without disintegrating, so all that’s needed to do is remove any debris and wash the material before reusing it. 

  • To begin, work your way through the coir with your hands, breaking up and removing any remaining roots. 
  • If you want to employ enzymes to assist break down and removing old roots from the coir before reusing it, enzymes are available on the market. 
  • Then thoroughly wash it with distilled water to remove any salts that may have remained. 
  • Allow the coir to dry completely before reusing it.

Ques6: Can I grow my plants in peat moss?

Plants that require a lot of moisture can be cultivated only in peat moss, or you can combine it with potting soil if your plants don’t require as much moisture. Water peat moss as you would any other planting soil when it becomes dry, but don’t let it dry entirely between waterings. 

You can immerse container plants growing in peat moss in lukewarm water until they stop creating air bubbles for deep watering as an alternative to traditional watering methods. Because peat moss is low in nutrients, you’ll need to supplement with fertilizer to maintain your plants’ healthy.

Ques7: Can I mix peat moss with soil?

Yes, peat moss is an excellent addition to homemade potting soil, especially for plants that require extra moisture. 

  • Mix one part peat moss with one part sand or vermiculite and one part compost to make your own blend. 
  • After combining these components, add half an ounce of pelleted limestone and a quarter of an ounce of superphosphate or triple phosphate to each gallon of soil mixture. 

Note: If you’re growing moisture-loving plants, add extra peat moss; if you’re growing plants that need drier soil, add more perlite.

Ques8: Who has more nutrients, coco peat vs peat moss?

Coco peat does not supply much nourishment to plants, and it’s vital to use it either blended with potting soil that has the nutrients your plants require or in combination with an adequate fertilizer. On the other hand, coco peat is high in potassium and contains manganese, copper, iron, and zinc.

Peat moss is low in nutrients, so if you’re growing plants in it, you should either mix it with nutrient-rich potting soil or use an appropriate fertilizer.

Ques9: Which is more poisonous to pets, coco vs peat moss?

Both are not poisonous to pets, yet you should be cautious.

While dogs and cats are not poisoned by coco peat, dehydrated coir expands as it is introduced to water. If your pet consumes dehydrated coco, it might grow in the digestive tract and obstruct its intestines. Contact your veterinarian if your pet has eaten dry coir.

Dogs and cats are not poisoned by peat moss. Although, peat moss can cause gastrointestinal distress in pets, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

  • Contact your doctor if your pet’s digestive system becomes irritated after eating peat moss. 
  • When pets roll in peat moss, their skin may become irritated. Rinse your pet’s coat with fresh water if peat moss irritates their skin. 
  • Peat moss might irritate your dog or cat’s eyes if it comes into touch with them. Hold your pet’s one eye open at a time and rinse it with fresh water, saline, or pet eyewash if this happens. Continue until they’ve been thoroughly rinsed. Consult your veterinarian if the irritation persists.

Ques 10: Is coco peat and coco coir the same?

If you are searching about coco peat, you must have seen the term coco coir in the search results, it’s must be confusing, so let’s clear this up. Both the terms coco peat and coco coir are used interchangeably. Both are suitable substrates for plants and both are byproducts of coconut but both are slightly different. While coco peat is made from coconut husk, coir is made from the natural fiber of the coconut. Coco peat can absorb more beneficial water than coco coir. Coco coir is slightly acidic while coco peat is neutral.

Conclusion

Both coco peat and peat moss are widely used in the plants, and they almost work the same. Many gardeners prefer coco peat, though it is expensive. As coco peat is considered to be more sustainable than peat moss, it is gardeners’ favorite pick. 

We hope we have clarified your confusion over coco peat vs peat moss. If you have any queries regarding coco vs peat moss, drop down in the comment section! We will get back to you.

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