Here at Six Acre Nurseries, we have taken huge steps to go fully peat free as soon as possible. We have completely stopped purchasing peat-based compost and only now use peat free compost in our own nursery custom mixes and propagation substrates. This means all of our planting, potting and seed sowing only goes into 100% peat free compost. It also means you will see less and less peat based options to purchase as our old stock depletes.

Why have we taken these steps?

Please read the guide below for more information. We’ve been testing various peat free options for a while now with superb results so please feel free to contact us or come and have a chat about going peat free as well!

What is peat?

When plants that grow in swampy areas die, they do not decompose properly. Instead they turn into a partially rotted organic material; a material know as peat. Peat is a limited resource within our natural environment that is made up of decaying organic matter. Many of the peat bogs we see today formed over 12,000 years ago and can take hundreds of years to regenerate.

Why are peat bogs important?

Peat bogs store vast amounts of carbon, which must be kept in the ground to avoid contributing to climate change. They also provide a unique habitat for a wealth of plants, animals and insects, as well as providing a feeding and stopping-off point for native and migrating birds. They are essential for maintaining biodiversity across the world and within the UK.

Why should we choose peat free compost?

Peat free compost – as the name suggests – contains no peat whatsoever. By choosing peat free compost, you are decreasing the demand for peat and therefore having a huge positive impact on the wider natural environment.

Is peat free compost better or worse than peat-based compost?

The quality of peat free compost has improved drastically over that past few years. The main thing to look for when choosing any compost – including peat-based compost – is how well decayed the organic matter is. The more decayed the organic matter, the more easily the nutrients held within can be accessed by the plants. Also, generally, the better the moisture retention but effective drainage. The main advantage of peat-based compost used to be the fact the peat content contributed to the quality of the decaying organic matter – thus providing both nutrients and water-retaining/effective draining properties. However, nowadays a high quality peat free compost with plenty of well decayed organic matter works just as well. In fact, some studies have indicated it is easier to rehydrate a peat free compost as less ‘contraction’ of the compost occurs when drying out.

What does peat free compost contain?

Most peat-free composts contain wood-based materials as their primary ingredient. This may be woodfibre, composted bark, sawdust, wood or paper waste. Wood-based mixes can be tailored to the requirements of most plants as they have excellent drainage properties as well as a relatively low pH. (The pH value describes how acid or alkaline soil is, and is expressed as a number between 0 and 14. Soil with a pH of 7 is neutral, an acid soil has a lower value, and an alkaline soil has a higher one. Most plants grow best in soil that’s within a specific pH range, so it’s useful to know your soil’s pH. Testing kits are easy to use and available at Six Acre Nurseries).

Many peat-free composts may also contain Coconut fibre or ‘coir’. It is mainly imported from Sri Lanka. Coir is a waste product. It has excellent natural water-holding ability and a sufficient mix of fine and coarse fibres to hold air in its pore spaces, making it a good growing medium. It does not hold nutrients well, however, so is used in conjunction with other materials. The environmental credentials of coir-based products are questioned due to the distance they must be transported to the UK, but this is balanced out by the fact that it is a genuine waste material.

Other ingredients often include sterilised loam and sand. Loam is a mixture of sand, silt and a smaller amount of clay. It is excellent at holding moisture, but also drains well so that sufficient air can reach the roots.

We have a huge range of peat free options to suit any need. Please check the details below for more specific information, or feel free to discuss your requirements with our horticulturalists. We’re always happy to help.

Bulrush Multipurpose Peat Free Compost – 40L


General potting compost for shrubs, perennials and bedding plants.

Made from a blend of sustainable ingredients including Forest Gold, Coir and Clay combined with essential plant nutrients and trace elements designed to provide an ideal medium for healthy plants growth.

A proven performer for use all around the garden.

Petersfield Multipurpose Peat Free Compost – 60L


General potting compost for shrubs, perennials and bedding plants.

A blend of the best available peat alternatives. In development for many years. Petersfield are at the forefront of peat free compost technology.

Petersfield Multipurpose Peat Free Supreme Compost – 40L


General potting and seed sowing. Close texture, excellent water retention.

An absolutely superb peat free compost for seed sowing and potting. Used as our own seed sowing substrate at Six Acre Nurseries. This is the highest quality peat free compost we have used.

Bulrush Multipurpose Peat Free Moisture Retaining Compost – 40L


General potting compost for shrubs, perennials and bedding plants. Contains moisture retaining gel.

Contains a special water retaining agent, Aquasorb, which absorbs and retains large amounts of water and nutrients. Aquasorb releases the absorbed water and nutrients as and when the plant demands.

Use this compost with hanging baskets, containers, tubs and window boxes.

Petersfield Multipurpose Peat Free Moisture Retaining Compost – 40L


For general potting. Close texture. Contains a biodegradable moisture retaining foam for superb moisture retention.

Another superb peat free compost ideal for baskets, containers and general potting.

Bulrush Ericaceous Peat Free Compost – 40L


Ideal for acid-loving plants including Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias, Acer Palmatums.

This compost is specially formulated to provide the correct pH balance for acid-loving plants such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camellias.

Petersfield Peat Free Organic Soil Improver – 40L


Excellent for improving both light soil and clay soil. Nutrient and humus rich.

A naturally peat free and organic product from composted plant material. Improves soil by adding humus and enriching with nutrients. Improves moisture retention in lighter soils and structure and drainage in heavier soils. A wonderful product used by our staff and many professional landscapers for mulching.

Bulrush Farmyard Manure – 50L

£4.99 (£4.50 when buying 3 or more)

Excellent for improving both light soil and clay soil. Nutrient and humus rich.

Provides a natural source of organic matter to encourage healthy plant growth. Dig into the soil to improve the quality of poor soils, such as heavy clay and light sandy soils.

Bulrush Sterilised Top Soil – 25L

£3.99 (£3.50 when buying 3 or more)

Excellent for improving both light soil, clay soil, making compost and levelling lawns.

Bulrush sterilised top soil is carefully selected and graded that is lime free and weed free.

Also perfect for creating new beds and borders and replacing old soil.

Tomorite Peat Free Deep Grow Bag – 42L


Excellent for tomatoes, veg and herbs.

Enriched with controlled release fertilizer. Deep fill for better root development.