There are certain states across America where the use of an erosion control blanket is a no-brainer. Mountainous regions in the state of Colorado, for example, are prone to sudden and heavy rainstorms. In these instances, the soil needs a dependable and consistent way to be stabilized.
That’s where an erosion control blanket comes in.
States around the country experience the effects of soil erosion because run-off (sediment mixed with water) is not the only way soil degrades. It’s a delicate natural resource that’s prone to climate change, wind erosion, and evaporation, which dilutes nutrient content.
And that’s exactly what erosion control blankets are slowly and steadily trying to turn around.
Erosion control blankets are a worthy and innovative solution to all forms of soil erosion.
True to their name, they blanket the area suffering from erosion and protect the soil from further run-off, evaporation, and degradation. Their open weave allows new plantings to breathe while supporting and covering bare soil areas from further exposure.
They also stabilize the soil enough to allow root-rich plantings like trees, groundcover, and berry bushes to take hold and rejuvenate the soil — all while ensuring animals can’t feast on your seedlings.
And since they’re built with natural and biodegradable materials, there’s no need to remove a blanket. It will decompose and add to the soil’s nutrients and minerals.
They’re essentially used to help soil regain its footing and anchor itself to the land naturally. Erosion control products buy time and enforce protection, either long-term or short-term.
You’ll often find that construction and landscaping companies will use ECBs as a preventative measure in large developments that include slopes, stream banks, and wetland edges. This helps to preserve soil-rich areas and protect bare soil areas from further degradation.
There are several types of erosion control blankets, but they all fall under one of two categories: natural and synthetic. They’re typically laid down in rolls, like sod, and anchored to the ground with either staples or pins.
You can also secure erosion control blankets with live stakes, fascines (wattles), and brush layers.
The dense matrix of natural weaves include materials like straw, curled wood, and coconut fiber. These fibers may themselves be held together with plastic or synthetic netting.
There are several synthetic fabrics and materials used to make them, but not all ECBs are suitable for high traffic areas, wetlands, or embankments. For example, plastic netting can be used to divert run-off from embankments for short periods, but should not be used for aquatic environments.
Jute, on the other hand, is the standard for landscaping, whereas burlap is the go-to for immediate erosion control on extremely steep slopes already in danger of disintegration.
Natural erosion control blankets also include geotextiles – not to be confused for geofabrics. Geotextiles include materials like burlap, jute mesh, and coir mat, whereas geofabrics are a woven or non-woven polypropylene fabric.
Each has advantages, and manufacturers will also offer a blend of synthetic and natural or biodegradable ECB weaves to give consumers the strengths of both.
Erosion control products continue to be one of the most popular methods to secure new plantings and curb the more corrosive effects of soil erosion. In 2018, the US market for erosion control products reached $79 million, and that’s expected to grow to $134 million by 2026.
Erosion control blankets are growing because:
– ECBs are biodegradable
– The material and weave can be designed to support soil while allowing new seeds to breathe and moisture to permeate
– Erosion control products keep herbivores away but are safe for wildlife
– ECBs reduce evaporation while protecting from direct sunlight
– The weave protects from rain impact and run-off potential
– They can aid with slopes or prevent hillside erosion
Besides their myriad benefits, erosion control blankets are not too complicated for the everyday consumer. This makes them a great solution for both industry experts and homeowners or lawn care enthusiasts.
Erosion control blankets can give you a significant jumpstart in the fight against rapid soil erosion and degradation. But you need to make sure you’re prepping the land and installing your mat correctly.
Here are a few pro-tips to consider for an effective and easy pre-installation process:
– Only install your ECB once preparation, fertilizing, or liming and seeding are complete
– Remove all rocks or soil clods 1.5 inches or larger before installation
– Choose a blanket based on slope steepness, shear stress, and degradation time
– It’s a good idea to check for any potential damage or displacement after a rainstorm
– Your ECB should be anchored to the soil using metal wire staples or other special provisions, driven through the blanket and remaining flush with the soil
– If planning to overlap blankets, make sure to have a minimum of a 4-inch overlap
– Loose or sandy soil is often a problem for securing – make sure the anchors are long enough to install through the trench
– Install staples on every seam for safety
A final word of caution: Don’t place your erosion control blankets on an area where the final vegetation needs to be mowed (such as grass). If the staples get caught in the mower, it’ll be a disaster.
As the largest and most respected providers of erosion control products in North America, the team at Granite Seed know a thing or two about reclaiming your land using eco-friendly and natural techniques.
We’ll help guide you to the right erosion control blanket materials for you and help you install it securely. Without proper initial installation and ongoing checks, you could end up losing what soil quality you have left.
But with the right products and seeding techniques, you can transform a once challenging land reclamation project into a thriving garden capable of supporting a whole range of ecosystems that rely on lush, nutrient-rich soil.
Contact us to learn more about our experience in conservation projects and what it means for our clients.
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