Using Erosion Control Matting to Promote Vegetation

There are a variety of different types of erosion control matting solutions available today. They consist of specific mat material designed for a specific purpose. The steeper the slope, the better constructed the erosion control matting has to be to stay in place and produce the desired results.

In past years, contractors would just place straw on a hill side and hope that erosion would be eliminated and vegetation would take place. With today's regulations, requirement and concerns about the environment, this is no longer done on slopes. Straw is still used and is effective on flat surfaces that are not prone to flooding. It can and is still used on slopes, but the straw is no longer just laid down. Today there are biodegradable netting materials or binding element applied to contain the straw and hold it in place. This is an effective way to control erosion on a very mild slope, usually not more the 1:4.

The steeper the slope, the higher the quality of the erosion control matting should be. On slopes of 1:3 to 1:2, coconut fiber mixed with straw has been shown to be very effective. Consequently, the steeper the slope, the better the binding material should be as well. Most types of this matting for this steepness of slope have a double biodegradable netting to secure the material in place.

For the really steep slopes or if more protection against downpours or channeling by runoff is needed, there are synthetic types of erosion control matting available, too. These are longer lasting than those made of natural components, but can still be made to break down if desired. These are known as geosynthetic materials. Many of them are made to break down when exposed to UV radiation. There are others that are made to be permanent. These are used in places that are almost vertical. In these cases, vinyl, chicken wire, and concrete can be used to eliminate erosion on a permanent basis. The downside to this method is that they cost a lot more.

The best thing about all erosion control matting is that they come in rolls which makes them easy to layout and install.

by Mark Sierra


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