RHS spends £1m to accelerate transition to peat-free gardening


2023-02-18 11:10

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has appointed a peat-free postdoctoral researcher to help the horticultural industry transition to a sustainable, environmentally friendly substrate.
The government, growers and substrate producers have joined forces to launch a five-year £1m research project, through the Substrate Association and horticultural products supplier Fargro, to look into sustainable alternatives to peat in large-scale commercial growing environments.
Dr Raghavendra Prasad joined the 120-person research team at the RHS Hilltop House of Horticultural Sciences this month and will be involved in the work with five growing companies that produce a total of more than 46 million plants each year.
The team's research areas will focus on peat-free plant production, plug tray plant production, new technologies for peat replacement (the UK horticultural industry is expected to use 1.7 million m3 of peat in 2021), planting standards, new product development and translation, for challenging Flora such as carnivores and rhododendrons develop peat-free solutions.
In addition, research results will be shared on an ongoing basis with other wider industries, including nurseries, and 30 million home and community gardeners, enabling them to better understand sustainable alternatives to peat and advice on the best use of Peat planting transition.
The RHS announced a ban on the sale of peat-containing substrates in 2018 and pledged to be completely peat-free by 2025.
Professor Alistair Griffiths of the Institute said: "It is very important that the Institute collaborates with industry and government on new peat-free planting substrate technologies. Many peat alternatives are untapped, so we need to collaborate to develop and share to get the best possible results. good usage guidelines to ensure peat is stored in the soil.”
Environment Minister Trudy Harrison said: "We are delighted to partially fund this project, which will develop peat-free alternatives to preserve nature and create greener jobs. Phasing out peat in our future Previously, this project will assist governments and industry in keeping peat healthy and stored in its original land. Healthy peat will lock in carbon, enhance our resilience to drought and provide a powerful solution to natural climate change.”

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