If you’re unfamiliar with wattles, the fact is you’ve probably seen them without realizing what they actually are.
Wattles are long tubes made up of a variety of materials that are designed to help control water direction and prevent erosion. Most often, they are laid out on large pieces of land near horticultural farms or active construction sites.
Sadly, one of the last things some people consider when it comes to an outdoor project is erosion control — but it’s one of the most essential keys to a successful project. Without proper care, homes, habitats, vegetation, and drains can diminish or get destroyed.
That’s why wattles are important! But before you learn everything you need to know about wattles, it’s also important to understand what erosion is and how wattles are a cost-effective way to help control it.
Erosion is when a surface — such as dirt, rocks, or dissolved material — is removed from its original location to another by water flow or wind. And unfortunately, more than 200 thousand square miles of land in the U.S. is more susceptible than ever to soil erosion from wind.
Most often, you’d recognize soil erosion when dirt looks unusually unkempt and cluttered — sort of like there was a strong wind that blew a dusting of the soil around.
It is a natural occurrence when wind and water are involved, but the problem is that humans are the leading cause of erosion.
People can cause erosion by disturbing the environment with construction, gardening, logging, and mining activities. This can cause the weakening or removal of the topsoil of the earth, which leads to excessive wearing and potential deforestation.
The good news is that erosion rates can be significantly reduced through proper erosion control techniques, such as wattles.
Erosion control is a method to control or prevent wind or water erosion in agriculture, land development, coastal areas, river banks, and construction. This method is especially crucial to help avoid water pollution, soil loss, wildlife habitat loss, and property loss.
Wattles are a popular solution when dealing with the possibility of erosion, among other options.
Wattles — also interchangeably called “logs” — help filter and stabilize products around drains, construction sites, and streams or other sources of water.
Wattles are popular because they’re a cost-effective stormwater treatment product, and they’re also a great alternative to other erosion control products.
Erosion control companies often prefer using wattles as an alternative to a silt fence — which must be removed after construction is finished — because can stay and naturally biodegrade.
Since they’re cost-effective and easy to install, wattles are a top-choice product when it comes to erosion control.
Wattles can be used in a variety of places, but are most commonly installed along slopes and shorelines since they dissipate the impact of flowing water and wave action.
In other cases, people will use wattles to help the growth of natural vegetation. Wattles are excellent at retaining moisture from rainfall, which helps aid the growth of seedlings for plants that are planted upslope and would otherwise not get enough water.
Wattles can be made up of a few different materials, such as straw, coir, or excelsior. The casing is typically made from photodegradable UV stabilized polypropylene netting or biodegradable burlap, both of which are safe to leave out for years.
Here are some key similarities and differences between these three types of wattles:
– Made from straw fiber
– A great, cost-effective alternative to silt fences and nonbiodegradable products
– Designed to filter sediment runoff
– Straw and encasing is biodegradable
– Lasts up to 2 years
– Made from wood or aspen shavings
– Cost-effective, stormwater treatment product
– Shavings and encasing is biodegradable
– Has a longer lifespan than straw wattles
– Made from the outer husk of a coconut
– Also inexpensive and biodegradable
– Longest lifespan of all three types of wattles
– Contains natural materials, with the interior made from mattress coir and the exterior made from coir twine
No matter the type, a wattle is a great product when it comes to erosion control. But what happens if they are installed incorrectly?
You know now that wattles are installed to help control stormwater runoff, prevent off-site sedimentation at construction sites, and protect against slope erosion. However, if the wattles are installed incorrectly, then there could be more significant issues.
It’s important to hire professionals who are familiar with erosion control products to ensure they are correctly placed.
To install accurately, wattles must be placed on contour and spaced according to the slope’s steepness. They are established around what they need to protect, whether it’s a disturbed area, a drain inlet, or a stockpile.
A stockpile, in this context, is a large mound of soil that is formed during construction to provide proper building elevations. It’s important to keep these secure since they act as the base platform for future developments.
Additionally, wattles can be installed near water channels and act as mini check dams.
A check dam is a small and sometimes temporary dam constructed to counteract erosion by reducing water flow velocity. In cases like this, wattles should always be installed in shallow trenches built on the contour.
No matter what the intent is, it’s always best to have a professional help evaluate your erosion control needs.
Need to cover thousands of acres? No problem. Just need some help with your front lawn? The experts at Granite Seed have got your back.
Whether you’re an active construction site looking to protect surrounding areas, or are attempting to rebuild land and vegetation, you need wattles to help complete your project.
Granite Seed has had experience with erosion control for over 30 years and can provide a one-stop solution to get the most out of your project, no matter how big or small.
Contact the experts at Granite Seed today!
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