Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Peat Moss Uses

By James Newsome ; Updated September 21, 2017

Peat moss is a soil amendment made from partially decomposed sphagnum moss. It is absorbent like a sponge, and although it does not contain nutrients, it holds nutrients present in the soil until plants need them. It is the only soil amendment that helps soil achieve the proper balance of air and water, and also helps loosen dense soil and add density to sandy soil. Peat moss has many uses in gardening and in lawn care.

Condition Garden Soil

Add peat moss to the soil of a garden to condition the soil before planting. Peat moss is ideal for improving the texture of the soil, and when added to garden soil it will stop nutrient runoff from occurring by holding water and nutrients in. Dig 1 inch of peat moss into 6 inches of soil by hand, being careful not to damage plant roots.

Improve Compost

Use peat moss to improve your compost. By mixing an 1 inch of peat moss into every 4 inches of compost, you help the compost form into a nutrient-dense, crumbly, easy-to-spread fertilizer. Use this fertilizer for your lawn, garden, houseplants, and any other type of plant you grow.

More Successful Transplanting

Peat moss can greatly help the success of tree and shrub transplantation. After digging the hole you will move the plant to, mix peat moss into the soil you will use to backfill in a ratio of one part peat moss to two parts soil. When you replant the shrub in the new location, backfill the new hole with this mixture. This will greatly improve the plant's ability to take root in the new area and help it gather the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Replace Straw After Seeding

Spread peat moss over newly planted grass seed instead of covering the seed with straw. The peat moss will absorb and hold water like the straw, but has the benefit of disappearing quickly into the soil after the grass begins growing. It also helps aerate the soil and gives the grass a better environment to begin its growth cycle.


About the Author


Born in Ohio, USA, James Newsome is a photographer, designer, and writer. He worked as a landscaper for seven years as well as attending Wright state University for Fine Arts and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for photography.