HAWITA Conserves the Valuable Peat Resource

At IPM, the manufacturer presents alternative substrates for commercial horticulture

 Many future generations should also still be able to benefit from the valuable raw material peat. For this reason, the HAWITA Group has focussed its attention on peat-reduced substrates for many years. At the International Plant Fair(IPM) in Essen, the company presents a number of new soils, with a significantly reduced share of peat.

Included in the new substrates is a propagation soil on the basis of cocopeat, Perlite and white peat. The share of peat is now only 40 per cent. The bark culture substrate, on the foundation of volcano clay and bark humus only contains a share of 35 per cent peat. 60 per centis the share of peat with a new perennial substrate, which additionally contains clay, wood fibres, green-waste compost and pumice. The new universal soil contains absolutely no peat. It consists of volcano clay, wood fibres, bark humus, cocopeat and coconut fibres.

"Also in the future, we would like many gardeners to benefit from peat as the foundation for the plants," says Simon Tabeling, managing partner of the HAWITA Group. The company has already been offering substrates with less peat for many years. The total share of the peat substitute materials in the substrates is at more than 10 per cent, at individual locations it is even at more than 25 per cent.

Pioneer of Responsibly Produced Peat

What is more, in cooperation with nature conservationists, HAWITA takes care of the rewetting of the extraction areas that were previously mainly used by the farming industry in northern Germany and in the Baltic states. "By means of this, an ecologically more valuable surface is created than was the case prior to peat extraction," Tabeling emphasises. This is completely in line with the new Initiative for Responsibly Produced Peat (RPP), of which HAWITA is one of the pioneers. Based on this, the producers commit themselves not to touch intact moor land, to be careful in their use of peat and to restore the peat extracting areas to their natural state.

The reduction of the peat content in substrates requires special know-how. "The mixture of substitute materials must be correct to ensure that the water-nitrogen balance of the plants is not lost," says Oliver Weiß, Laboratory Head of the HAWITA Group. This is because
many of the vegetable peat substitute materials have the property of binding nitrogen in the substrate. Once this happens, it is no longer available as soluble nitrogen for plant growth.

Thus, during the culturing period, the HAWITA Group conducts nutrient analyses for its customers in the own in-house laboratory so as to support them in their changeover to peat-reduced substrates. Peat-substituting materials used by the company are bark humus, green-waste compost, coconut, wood fibres, wood shavings and mineral substances such as volcano clay, expanded clay, Perlite, lava and pumice gravel.


Photo by Willi Rolfes

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