MoorLIFE 2020: sphagnum planting

Colourful sphagnum

We're planting at least 1.7 million sphagnum plug plants as part of MoorLIFE 2020

This will cover about 15 square kilometres.

We plant 120,000 plugs per square kilometre

planting sphagnumMost of the sphagnum we plant is propagated and supplied as plug plants. The plugs normally contain a mixture of 12 different sphagnum species.

We’re experimenting with a different mixture containing only five species, but ones that form hummocks. These are the best bog-building species, but also the least abundant on the degraded bogs we are trying to restore. We’re hoping that by focusing on planting these types of sphagnum, we can make sure the really crucial sphagnum species colonise the moors, leading to a faster improvement in their condition.

freshly planted sphagnum plug

Some of our sphagnum is translocated from sites that are rich in sphagnum, including some stock from Wales. Wherever we use the translocation technique, we are careful to take only up to 10% so that the donor site is left undamaged, and we carry out biosecurity checks to ensure we’re not spreading disease.

We also use tiny fragments suspended in a medium to form beads, which are easy to spread, or a gel which is spread in ‘blobs’ using a dispensing machine.

Funded by

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