RHS supporting consultation on horticulture peat ban

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has backed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) plans to consult on banning peat from garden and greenhouse products.

According to the charity, it has been campaigning for close to ten years for alternatives to peat-based compost being introduced.

The extraction of peat damages lowland wetland habitats and destroys large patches of important carbon storage sites.

To counteract the loss of peat-based composts, growers can instead use a mixture of inorganic and organic materials, such as a combination of sand, grit and composted tree bark.

RHS head of science Roger Williams explained that gardeners should read instructions carefully on peat-free products to get the best results.

He noted that peat has been used in potting composts for decades.

"But the RHS has been concerned about the potential damage to the environment and so has been conducting scientific research into peat-free alternatives," Mr Williams added.

In other news, the RHS is to add a new Artisan Garden category to its Chelsea Flower Show in 2011.