General questions about Klasmann peat substrates

Sometimes the prices for horse sphagnum peat are a bit too high for farmers, why should I choose horse sphagnum peat?

The combination of economic, chemical, physical and biological properties of top sphagnum peat allows to consider it as the environment with the best properties in comparison with any other available substrates.

For farmers, the homogeneity of the material and excellent properties are most important for the control of optimal cultivation performance and maximum safety for the crop. In modern crop production, workers perform standard operations (eg, fertilization, watering, pesticide spraying, etc.), thus maintaining the substrate in a stable state (especially in terms of structure, nutrition and pH level), which ensures successful plant cultivation.

What is the difference between horse sphagnum peat and local peat?

Peat raw materials have a big difference if we consider local peat and horse sphagnum peat. Local peat is also called “eutrophic peat bogs”. This peat comes from different types of grasses, shrubs, conifers and more. Its age varies greatly, the content of nutrients is complex and uneven. Local peat usually shows a high salt content in combination with an unstable and usually high pH. Very often it is heterogeneous in structure.

On the other hand, upland sphagnum peat comes from oligotrophic or upland bogs. It is formed mainly from sphagnum moss. Peat is formed in conditions of excessive moisture (environment with insufficient oxygen level), which guarantees a long process of humification. This peat shows varying degrees of decomposition, from weakly decomposed white peat to highly decomposed frozen black sphagnum peat. The structure of sphagnum is not destroyed, and moss cells perform their function of retaining moisture and air. The level of nutrients, as well as the pH level in peat from sphagnum moss, is low and stable. As a result, all plant nutrition and pH needs can be optimized with specially developed fertilizers and lime (calcium carbonate). Homogeneity and physical properties are very even, because it is due to the properties of pure sphagnum moss.

Horse sphagnum peat has a high concentration of humic acids, which stimulate the development of the root system of plants. It is free of weeds, pathogenic nematodes and other pathogens.

Are nematodes present in Klasmann substrates?

Klasmann substrates do not contain any nematodes pathogenic to plants. They may contain saprophytic nematodes that do not have jaws, and therefore they are safe for living plants. Saprophytic nematodes can be found worldwide in any peat. Peat raw materials from Klasmann are very carefully controlled in the laboratory. Product quality management is based on RHP quality standards, which are the strictest for substrates around the world. In addition, research is carried out at import and export with confirmation by quarantine certificates that Klasmann products are free from pathogenic nematodes.

Why is it not necessary to disinfect horse peat?

Horse sphagnum peat does not need disinfection, because it is a very clean material due to the processes of its formation. Horse peat shows very low levels of nutrients and pH. Moreover, the sphagnum swamp is covered with water, and only adapted plants can grow under such specific conditions. Since ordinary field crops cannot grow on peatlands, there are no diseases or pests around the swamps. This fact is a guarantee that there is no need for disinfection. Disinfection is required for peat harvested on agricultural land.

This is also one of the main economic and environmental benefits of horse sphagnum peat. Pests and diseases are constantly monitored by the quality management system, products are accompanied by phytosanitary certificates.

We can also say that disinfection is even harmful because it destroys the beneficial microflora. Disinfected peat loses its microbiological protection against plant diseases.

Why does peat hold more water and nutrients and have more air capacity than other substrates?

Sphagnum moss is an aquatic plant with large cells, spongy structure. The pore volume provides a balanced ratio between air and water content. The special capillary structure of sphagnum moss guarantees a sufficient amount of air for the crops grown. High moisture holding capacity combined with high air content are the main advantages of peat.

Peat as a purely organic substance shows a high capacity of cation exchange. Peat humic acids can absorb nutrients and transfer them to plants as needed. Additives such as clay also increase cation exchange capacity and nutrient buffering. Sphagnum peat is also an excellent buffer for the pH level, which keeps this figure stable throughout the growing period.

What is the difference between block peat and cut peat?

Various methods of peat harvesting are used to prepare raw materials with specific physical properties. This allows Klasmann-Deilmann to choose from different types of peat with a controlled ratio of water and air and to prepare the optimal environment for each crop.

Surface crushed peat is collected by grinding the top layer of white peat directly on the swamp. This method is the main one when harvesting peat and allows to obtain a homogeneous material, which is distributed after harvesting in fractions of 0-5 mm and 0-25 mm. These fractions provide an air content of 10-15% by volume.

Block peat is used to increase the air content and increase the duration of the stable structure, but using a different method of harvesting. That is, the so-called “blocks” are cut from the swamp, dried and crushed by special mills at the plant. Then this raw material is divided into fractions of 1-7 mm, 5-15 mm, 10-25 mm and 25-45 mm, providing a very low dust content and high air capacity. Fractions of 10-25 mm and 25-45 mm provide air capacity up to 35% by volume.

What are the properties of peat with a fine structure, block peat and peat fibers?

Peat with fine structure:

Peat with a fine structure retains water and water-soluble fertilizers better than large structures, while large structures provide a higher air content than small structures. The use of surface crushed peat or block peat depends on the crop and the method of its cultivation. While seedlings can be grown in a fine-grained product, potted plants should be grown in an environment that combines crushed and block peat to achieve optimal physical properties and increase drainage.

Block peat:

Block peat provides air capacity and structure stability. Together with peat fibers, it creates a structural framework within the substrate. It also stores water and fertilizers, as the cell structure remains intact. Also, the increased air content improves water drainage and supports the root system of sensitive plants during growth.

Peat fibers:

The fibers are formed from partially decomposed fluff (Eriophorum), they provide very good structure stability and good water transport. The fibers are part of the structural framework of the substrate, support water distribution and increase the drainage of the substrate.

If the fiber content is high, will the air content also be high?

Peat fibers are permeable to water and thus provide drainage. If the fiber content is very high, the substrate looks dry and airy at first. Since the drainage is high, small particles will accumulate at the bottom of the pots – siltation will occur. Therefore, the high fiber content cannot replace block peat in the right substrate.

Does Klasmann add black peat to his products? Does black peat cause a darker color in Klasmann products?

Most Klasmann products are white peat substrates. There are also special products with the addition of black peat. The choice depends on the system of growing and watering plants. Peat material differs in the degree of decomposition from H1 to H10 (on the von Post scale). Low-decomposed white peat from Klasmann is estimated by indicators H2-H5. Medium-decomposed white peat (H4-H6) is used as a raw material for specific purposes, such as growing vegetable seedlings. This raw material has a darker color and higher moisture holding capacity. Finally, black sphagnum peat is the most decomposed (mineralized), with a degree of decomposition of H7-H10, used only for specific products that require very high moisture retention. Different colors of peat are related to the degree of decomposition. Geologically older bogs are darker in color, even if the degree of decomposition is the same. In general, peat from older swamps has a more stable structure.

There are many brands of peat substrates: why should I choose Klasmann products? What are the advantages of Klasmann products compared to others?

The quality of Klasmann products is very reliable due to the fact that the raw materials come from their own peatlands. Substrate formulations are used all over the world, and their quality is confirmed by many of our customers and a wide range of crops grown. Only proven additives and fertilizers are used.

High quality products ensure crop safety
Production is based on strict quality control according to ISO and RHP
Laboratory control of each batch of substrates is carried out before shipment, ie it is possible to monitor the indicators for each batch and order.
Reliable supply of substrates throughout the year
Worldwide delivery through an extensive network of partner companies
The company provides technical support in terms of issues caused by the acquisition of new market segments, or problems in growing certain crops
Highly effective substrate fertilizer solutions, specific micronutrient fertilizers and Hydro S wetting agent provide the highest plant protection. Package size Klasmann looks too small: how can I know that the package volume is 200 liters?

The new Klasmann 200 liter bag is optimized for improved use and transport. This provides more convenience for workers and farmers. The volume of the substrate is measured in accordance with the European standard EN 12580. The volume of the substrate in the bag is constantly monitored during filling at the factory. The volume of the substrate is indicated on the bags.

There are many recipes for Klasmann products. What are the criteria for the correct choice of substrate?

Information on the standard line of substrates and standard application recommendations can be found in the Klasmann product information materials. Also, our sales partners will help you make the right choice of substrate formulation after discussing specific requirements with farmers.

If a special substrate formulation is required, is it possible to order it?

For specific crops or new segments and with specific questions, the farmer can contact the Klasmann distributor. In case of difficult questions, the distributor will be able to contact the Klasmann-Dailmann Technical Department in Germany for comprehensive answers on each crop and method of cultivation.

Questions about Klasmann substrates that may arise before use.

After opening the package, you can see mushrooms on the surface. What needs to be done?

Pure peat has an organic matter content of up to 98%. Organic matter attracts mushrooms. Peat is enriched with lime and nutrients to be used as a substrate for plants. These additives improve the conditions for the existence of microorganisms. Saprophytic fungi (as well as bacteria) that live on dead plant remains, as well as spores that are in the air and are always present in the environment, are able to get into peat at this stage. Substrate packages containing fungal mycelium should be opened and the substrate thoroughly mixed to maximize air saturation. After saturation of the substrate with oxygen, the mycelium of fungi dies quickly. Fungal mycelium does not pose any danger to plants, because these fungi are exclusively saprophytic.

The growth of fungi on the surface of the substrate in greenhouses is maintained by humid conditions and is usually due to spores in the air. Therefore, all preventive and curative measures should be aimed at creating dry conditions on the surface of the substrate and ensuring satisfactory aeration of plants and substrate. The use of dry growing conditions allows you to keep the surface of the substrate dry. If possible, you need to reduce the level of relative humidity in the greenhouse. There are currently no effective fungicides against saprophytic fungi. Fungicides against pathogenic fungi show very low effectiveness.

After opening the package, peat has an unusual odor. What shall I do?

Occasionally there is a residual odor on peat substrates. This can be caused by prolonged transportation in high temperature conditions. The smell is similar to the smell of rotten eggs or ammonia. This is a sign of anaerobic microbiological processes in the compressed peat substrate, maintained by high temperature and low oxygen level. Odor is quite difficult to prevent, as well as difficult to investigate, because its occurrence is influenced by many factors:

Microorganisms in peat
Temperature during transportation
Cargo delivery time
Storage conditions after delivery

Not everything is known about specific processes, but most likely the biological processes of microorganisms cause a decrease in nitrates and sulfates. The result is the appearance of odor and a decrease in the content of available nitrate nitrogen in the substrate.

This does not mean that the substrate is of poor quality. In most cases, you can use it without any restrictions by taking a few steps before use:

If fungal mycelium or odor is observed, the substrate should be immediately loosened to allow air to enter. Air enters the substrate and the oxygen contained in it stops anaerobic processes. If possible, you can leave the loose material for 1-2 days, stirring occasionally. The smell will disappear after such airing.

For substrates with medium, coarse or coarse-fiber structure for growing in pots or for transplanting, when the odor has disappeared and the substrate has dried slightly, it can be used without any additional tests and inspections. After sufficient ventilation, there is no negative impact on plant growth, because young plants are already rooted and developed.
Substrates for growing seedlings / crops (with a small structure) should be tested by biological tests and chemical methods to verify optimal plant growth after air saturation. Plants may need additional nutrition with water-soluble fertilizers to adjust the nutrient balance at an early stage of development and prevent potential nitrogen deficiency. How to loosen Klasmann products

Before using compressed substrates for running bags or bags, it is necessary to loosen them with great care so as not to destroy the structure of peat. This is especially important for substrates with a coarse structure, as intense loosening or mixing can destroy the coarseness and the structure will become too fine for its intended use. Mixers with high speed and power are very destructive to the peat structure. The farmer must select the necessary equipment for careful loosening of the carefully compacted substrate.

The use of a pitchfork or large shovel is ideal for loosening the substrate on a concrete floor.

What to consider when filling pots?

When filling pots, it is important to provide some compaction of the substrate. Since the substrate is quite loose, it must be slightly compacted in order to ensure good contact with the roots of the plant.

After planting / transplanting, it is necessary to provide immediate watering, which will cause some compaction of the substrate, ensuring good contact of peat with plant roots.

When planting, it is important not to immerse them too low in the pot. After compaction caused by planting and watering, the plant may find itself very low in the pot, suffering from lack of air and light, which can lead to increased susceptibility to soil diseases.

What should be added to the substrate to increase its water permeability and air content?

First, the optimal choice of substrate composition is necessary for the respective culture needs. The combination of block peat and surface ground peat provides a controlled ratio of air and moisture.

Perlite is ideal for increasing air content and drainage in the substrate. Because perlite is pH neutral, does not absorb water and does not contain any nutrients, it can be safely used in a mixture with the substrate.

Wood fibers are another optimal solution for increasing air content and drainage in substrates. Due to certain restrictions on the export of this material, it is mainly used in European countries.

Since 2010, Klasmann-Dailmann has been producing its own wood fibers, which guarantees the highest quality. The Klasmann GreenFibe brand fully complies with PEFC certification.

Coconut fiber can also be used for this purpose, but can have high levels of salts and pH. If coconut fibers are of good quality, they maintain a high level of drainage and water movement in the substrate.

Crushed coconut shell can also be used, but use is limited by high pH, ​​high salt and chlorine concentrations. Poorly prepared coconut inhibits normal plant growth due to high concentrations of sodium and potassium. Calcium deficiency may also occur.

What are the best conditions for storing peat?

Never store the substrate in direct sunlight – try to store below 250C
Protect pallets with black or white film from sunlight.
If possible, store in storage (no sun, no rain)
Follow the Fi-Fo rule – First came, first used
The substrate delivered in bulk should be stored in a warehouse or covered with clean film.
Use the freshest possible substrates for sowing
Never store substrates in bulk in a greenhouse
In case of long-term storage or growth of mycelium of fungi in the stored substrate, it is recommended to make a chemical analysis or test on Chinese cabbage (laboratory control)
In general, it is recommended not to store substrates for more than 3-4 months. What to do if the structure of the substrate is too coarse / too thin?

Klasmann manufactures many substrate formulations for any specific application. Choosing the right recipe for each crop and for each seedling is the basis for optimal cultivation. If the substrate formulation looks very rough or very fine, you need to contact the Klasmann distributor. He will help you make the right choice among the wide range of Klasmann products. The substrate formulation is recommended for use due to factors such as plant type, pot size and growing conditions.

The question of the use of Klasmann substrates

Algae grow in a pot on the surface of the substrate. What can be done to prevent this?

Algae spores are always present in the environment. Possible sources of occurrence are:

Irrigation water
Pipes and hoses
Constructions and equipment of greenhouses
Wind (environment)

Conditions for algae growth:

PH level 5-7 (at pH 4 algae die)
The presence of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon dioxide
Free water (especially on horizontal surfaces
Warm conditions
High relative humidity
Shaded areas

How to prevent the growth of algae?

Cover containers with rainwater
Add oxygen to rainwater (displaces carbon dioxide)
Use filters for irrigation water
Keep the plants as dry as possible (note that the larger the structure of the substrate, the greater the drainage and higher air content in the substrate)
Use as little water as possible inside the greenhouse
Ventilate the greenhouse or room as much as possible
Reduce relative humidity
Reduce shading where possible
Reduce the risk of condensation
Prevent ceilings, pipes, etc. from leaking
Observe hygiene in the greenhouse
Use algaecides (this can be toxic to plants!)
Cover the seeds after sowing with sand or vermiculite, if this allows you to do the specifics of crops grown. Why is there a mushroom fly in the substrate? Does the substrate contain mushroom fly eggs? How can a mushroom fly be prevented?

The development of the fungal fly lasts for 21 days and takes place in four stages: egg, pupa, larva and adult with many generations per year. Insects concentrate in damp places, on rotting plants, algae and fungi.

Wet organic matter and especially the wet surface of the substrate are the optimal conditions for egg laying by flies. Flies can be in or around buildings, can be a problem in greenhouses, nursery and plant areas. To control all types of flies, it is recommended to use physical and cultivation methods, the use of protective nets on windows and doors, humidity reduction, etc.

Insects spend most of their lives in the stages of pupae or larvae in organic matter or soil. Thus, insect development control measures should focus on juveniles and not on short-lived adult insects.

How to control:

Mushroom flies spread in humid conditions, especially in the presence of rotting vegetation and fungi.
Prevent waterlogging and improve drainage
Drying of the substrate is allowed
Purify water and prevent accidental leakage
Wet and undecomposed grass residues, immature organic compost, organic fertilizers and mulch are breeding grounds for flies.
Yellow sticky tapes should be used to control the population. How long is the wetting agent effective in the substrate?

The effectiveness of the wetting agent varies depending on the storage conditions of the substrate. In the case of storage in direct sunlight and / or a large difference between day and night temperature, the chemical composition of the wetting agent is easily destroyed.

In general, the effectiveness of the wetting agent is maintained for 6-8 months depending on the storage conditions of the substrates. Within 6 months, the effectiveness of the wetting agent may disappear completely. The main purpose of using a wetting agent is to facilitate re-wetting of the substrate in the first weeks of plant growth, its effectiveness should be maximum during this period. The work of the wetting agent is to reduce the surface tension of water, thus facilitating its penetration into the structure of the substrate.

During the cultivation of plants at the bottom of the pots accumulate small particles of substrate. What is the reason?

This phenomenon is often associated with the selected substrate formulation and the amount of watering.

If a large composition uses a substrate composition with a very fine structure, the phenomenon of siltation of particles smaller than 1 mm, accumulating at the bottom of the pot, resulting in plant roots suffering from lack of oxygen. If the substrate is used for plants with a long growing period, it is recommended to use a substrate with an increased content of block peat and with a reduced amount of surface crushed peat to prevent this phenomenon.

In substrates with a coarse structure, increased watering can also cause accelerated decomposition and washing of small particles to the bottom of the pots, leading to siltation. Therefore, in most cases it is recommended to grow plants in a dried substrate. This will guarantee – in most cases – a sufficient amount of air in the root layer, less damage by pests and diseases and a stable structure of peat for a long period.

After watering the substrate dries quite slowly. What is the reason?

In general, a substrate with a smaller structure retains more water, and a coarser substrate retains less water but more air. It is necessary to make sure that the watering strategy corresponds to the type of substrate. It is also necessary to choose the right structure of the substrate. Klasmann distributors can help with this. You do not need to water the plants very intensively after transplanting into pots. It is better to water in small portions, wait for good development of the root system.

Which watering is correct?

Fields should take place in the morning. Then the substrate and leaves will have time to dry in a day
The leaves of plants should be dry at night to prevent disease
Do not water the plants at noon (in strong sunlight). This can lead to burns on the leaves due to the fact that water droplets on them will act as lenses.
Some plants are very sensitive to cold water (African viola, for example). For such plants, the difference between the temperature of irrigation water and the environment should not exceed 5-10 0C
Make sure that the substrate is completely moist and does not contain dry particles (this is checked in the pot). Excessive moisture in the substrate should also be avoided. Weeds can sometimes be seen in pots with plants. Do they come from peatlands?

This is unlikely given the work processes and safety measures implemented in peatlands. Klasmann peatlands are very carefully prepared for peat extraction. The large top layer is removed and the boundaries of the peatland are controlled for weed control.

Regular inspections are carried out by the RHP quality control organization. Peat is often tested for weed seeds. In addition, due to the low pH value and the lack of nutrients in natural peat, only specific plants can grow in peatlands (sphagnum moss, sedge, etc.). Ordinary plants cannot grow and produce seeds in pure peat. Thus, peat is naturally free of weed seeds, and this is one of the advantages of using peat in agriculture.

Weeds in cultivated plants usually emerge from the surrounding area around the nursery. Thus, weed removal in and around greenhouses / nurseries is a prerequisite for preventing weeds in cultivated plants.


If the pH level in the substrate drops during the growing process, is it a problem of substrate quality?

The decrease in pH level in the substrate is in no way related to the substrate, as peat is very stable compared to other substrates, for example, in coconut the pH level drops much faster due to its low buffering. The most important factors are the quality of irrigation water (soft water = low carbonate content) and the type of nitrogen in the fertilizers used. There are special fertilizers on the market that maintain a stable pH level due to its composition of constituent substances.

In general, nitrate feed and hard water raise the pH of the substrate, and ammonium feed and soft water lower the pH during the growing period. This effect is based on chemical metabolic processes between the plant and the substrate.

What should be considered when taking samples to determine the pH and EC in the substrate?

Proper sampling is very important for determining pH and EC. The correct way to take samples is as follows:

For one batch of plants select 10-15 pots with substrate. Remove about 20% of the substrate from each pot. Carefully remove plants with roots. The material for the sample should be cut as a piece of cake from the root layer. From the packaged substrates, for example, it is necessary to select the material from the top, from the middle and from the bottom of the package or pallet. The sample is taken after uniform mixing.

When sowing in cassettes, sometimes the cells are very dry or very wet, or dry at the top and wet at the bottom. What’s going on?

The process of filling and sealing the cassettes must be very homogeneous to obtain the same amount of substrate and uniformity of sealing in each cell. Standard production procedures and automation of the cartridge filling process increase homogeneity. Uniform filling and compaction of the substrate affect the uniformity of seedlings, even the distribution of moisture and, consequently, the uniform growth of plants. To ensure uniform filling, Klasmann developed formulations of substrates with high content of block peat, which solves the problem of unevenness. In fully automated systems, it is recommended to control the weight of the cartridges after filling to ensure that the cartridges are filled evenly.

What is the duration of action of the fertilizer contained in the substrate? How to choose the right time for the next feeding?

The effect of the fertilizer contained in the substrate depends on the formulation, culture and its nutritional needs, and the age of the plant. Thus, it is impossible to give a universal answer to this question.

In general, the fertilizer contained in Klasmann products retains its effectiveness for 10-14 days after germination in small substrates for seedlings with a base fertilizer content of 1 kg / m3. Crops with strong growth in the first days and a strong need for nutrition should be fed after 8-10 days, and crops with slow growth – after 13-15 days.

It is most important to monitor the culture and color of the leaves for the timely use of fertilizer solution. Roots are also a good indicator. When the tips of the roots reach the walls of the pot, it’s time to start fertilizing with a solution of fertilizer. Balanced NPK fertilizer with microelements should be applied in the form of a solution. The older substrate may have a reduced nitrogen level. On substrates after long-term storage (more than 8-9 months after production) it is advisable to fertilize earlier to restore lost nitrogen.

Store the substrate in a cool place, protected from direct sunlight.