Substrates made from peat and coconut substrates have in common that both are means where the plant sits, roots and receives the necessary nutrients. Although they are similar substrates, we can find differences in water retention and absorption, root development, production, control over feeding and the impact on the environment. Let’s talk a little more about these concepts.
Absorption and Water Retention (Root Development)
Peat-based medium are denser than coconut medium. A small experiment to check this is to squeeze the substrate in your hand; the coconut crumbles when you open your hand, while most peats generate lumps.
Being denser, the peat retains more moisture and, along with the tendency to compact, the oxygenation of the root is lower. Therefore, the risk of fungal diseases increases in the root system.
Being more aerated, the coconut allows the roots of the plants to develop and oxygenate better, making it more difficult to find problems such as the mentioned above. In addition, its high capillarity allows the uniform distribution of the nutrient solution, thus regulating the amount of water that best suits our needs.
Nutrition and Results
In the market we can find coconut substrates with controlled EC (electrical conductivity) or with added fertilizers, while in peat we can only find more or less fertilized medium.
Whether we have decided to work with low EC coconut medium or with fertilized coconut medium, it will be necessary to learn how to control the amount of nutrients that we give to plants. In the case of peat, the start of the plant can be done only with water, since it will feed on the nutrients found in the peat. However, these nutrients are added artificially and mixed by hand, so we have no guarantees about the composition of the substrate or the nourishment of the crop.
By controlling the amount of nutrients that the plant will receive, the coconut fiber allows optimizing the final results: in the case of fruit plants we can increase production and weight, and in the case of ornamental plants, the robustness and structure of the flowers.
Coconut fiber is a by-product obtained from the food industry, so its use is eco-friendly.
Peat, on the other hand, is a product that is specifically extracted from swampy areas that regenerate very slowly, which is harmful to the ecosystem.
Coconut fiber is an ecological medium that allows controlling the amount of water and nutrients provided to the plantation. Thus, irrigation cycles are also regulated, increasing the efficiency of our work.