weedkiller in peat-free compost??

I went to my local garden centre yesterday and asked for peat free compost.  I was told that they don't stock it as nothing will grown in it because it is full of weedkiller.  I find this hard to believe as who would sell compost in which nothing will grow?  I had quite a heated discussion with the man who was very condescending and defensive when I said I could not believe that what he said was true.  I would like to go back with some firm facts..... can anyone help me?


Thank you



  • Utter crap to be frank-there are plenty of peat free composts about only results are variable

    Done bother-go elsewhere-the man is an idiotimage

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    You could ask his boss, if this was true ?!?!

  • lindsay2610lindsay2610 Posts: 101

    I use New Horizon Organic peat free compost, which is great stuff, but the weeds still grow.

    Logically this doesn't make sense - chemicals can't distinguish between what you think is a weed or a plant - if it had weedkiller in it, it would kill everything, surely?  As Lazy says, forget that store and go to your local nursery instead!

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459

    lol, thanks for this thread, you really brightened my mood!

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Basically this is nonsense, unless he has been buying some very dodgy compost!!   I have been using peat free for a few years now, it is a bit more difficut to get on with but once you work out it's watering needs, and possibly sieve it for tiny seeds, it is fine. All of my plants grow well in it. I do use JI2 with it for some potted plants, as much for weight as anything else. 

  • It sounds to me he was over stocked with peat based compost that he needs to shift.  I love to know why anyone would want to produce compost then fill it with weed killer, it wouldn't get my investment in the dragons den. image

  • What a plonker!  Can we name and shame the GC?  Personally I'd find out who the CEO was (I'm assuming it's a chain, and employs morons who neither know or care about gardening), and email THEM for advice - naming the location (and name of daft bloke if you can remember).  Then go and see if silly man still there a month down the line.

    WHY would someone go to the trouble of making peat-free compost (environmentally friendly), then stick it full of weedkiller so that NOTHING will grow. 

    Some advice - never argue with an idiot, they'll only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.  That chap surely qualifies for Idiot of the Month.

  • Caroline6Caroline6 Posts: 15

    Thank you everyone for confirming what I thought!  Could not understand how on earth this could be the case but wanted to get my facts right before I go back and tackle him again....... when faced with someone so adamant and a suposed expert it undermines what one knows to be true!

    Name and shame: it was the Burford Nursery near Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire.... the man there is always pretty grumpy to be fair.  However, this time it was his sidekick who gave the stupid information. But the man himself said not to contradict.  I go to support as it is an independent but am questioning my judgement!  Last time I went to ask advice on clematis he simply said 'we have hundrends' go and read the labels - I left empty handed unsurprisingly!


    I shall go back and ask for the owner and put them straight... wish me luck!


  • Makes you wonder why he works there - normally independants are very helpful.  What a prat, I'd go elsewhere if they are really so offhand about your custom.

  • Caroline6Caroline6 Posts: 15

    Yes, am thinking I will go to the chain next door in future.  They are always really helpful and friendly - ironic isn't it!

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683
    Caroline6 wrote (see)

    Yes, am thinking I will go to the chain next door in future.  They are always really helpful and friendly - ironic isn't it!

    Makes sure you tell them that, when you make your complaint.

  • Caroline6Caroline6 Posts: 15

    Good point, I will do.  Thank you!


  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    The only problem I have ever heard of regarding weedkiller, was when Horse manure had been contaminated with Aminopyralid weedkiller. People who had this problem are still suffering from it 4 years later, but that was not in peat free composts.

    I use  Vital Earth mainly because it comes from nearby so the road miles are not too bad. Never had any trouble with getting stuff to grow.

    I would add that one has to remember that the peat free stuff is made from whatever people put in their green waste bins and that could well include plant material which has been treated with weedkiller. However the manufacturers of this material all claim that the heat and other treatments they give their product remove things like that and any other pathogens. Pity the treatment does not remove Oxalis cornuta seeds though.

  • If I remeber correctly, there was a couple of articles in a major newspaper gardening section covering this problem.

    Many readers had complainted to the gardening  Guru that they had dismall results using a range of different composts and how many had found bits of wood./polythene and other small debris in their favourite compost, and It was said, that a lot of compost firms are addng a good amount of council recycled compost to bulk up their regular stuff...YUK!!

     (the guru concluded it would probably have a good amount of weed killer in it, from what householders put in their recycle bin..eg dandelions/ weeds after treating them with a weed killer )

    also many of them employed a degree of spin by hiding the info by saying the compost has other additives or words similar to that.

  • MaltaronMaltaron Posts: 3

    A couple of years back there was a problem with weedkiller in compost. I think that this has now passed but for info this year I have found that one of the top makes of compost was rubbish, yet Homebase own brand is brilliant.

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    The only thing I would add is that IF there was any residual weedkiller in the peat free compost then a. There would be screams from the gardeners who suffered and b. from the professional who are being forced into using it by the RHS who insist on it for any plants sold under their aegis.

    I have only ever used the one kind and so far I have never seen any problems with my plants growing in it. Indeed I have more trouble with peat based stuff these days, that is full of rubbish and lumps and such like.

  • Caroline6Caroline6 Posts: 15

    That is all really interesting.  I have not had good results with the compost I have bought in recent years - so called organic, or peat free but to be honest thought it was my lack of watering or feeding rather than the compost!  I see New Horizon is recommened on this web site so will try to track some of this down.  


    Thank you everyone for your feedback, it has been really helpful.

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    It has indeed been veryinteresting. I think you need to change the way you water and feed with Non-peat. It does not retain moisture anywhere near as well as peat and consequently it loses nutrients much more quickly.

    I confess when making up my potting compost for sales plants, I add about a third of peat based stuff to the peat free before adding grit (my stuff is mainly alpines) and then the slow release granules. It seems to work well.

  • Caroline6Caroline6 Posts: 15

    I did not realise that about non-peat so thank you.  I do need to be a bit more consistent I admit, it is just at the end of a long day trudging around with a watering can or doing battle with an ever tangled hose is not my most favourite job - but perhaps worthwhile for better results!

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