Gardening Articles: Care :: Tools & Equipment

Blankets for Erosion Control

by Robert Kourik

Erosion not only wastes valuable topsoil, but it erodes dollars from your wallet. A new product, the Guardian Seed Starter Mulch Mat, may help homeowners battle erosion without breaking their backs. This lightweight blanket consists of two layers of plastic netting with a thin filling of fiber such as straw, coconut fiber, or excelsior. A roll covering 72 square feet weighs only 30 pounds. The netting degrades in sunlight, a feature that's enhanced by added -- ultraviolet light accelerators -- so within a season, only tiny bits of plastic will be buried in the mulch or grass.

Erosion blankets are a breeze to install. Unroll the blanket along the contour, starting at the bottom of the slope. Stake in place at different intervals with metal pins (6-inch for clay soil, 9-inch for sandy soil), or use the newer, lactic acid based stakes (sold as Bio-STEKE) that are gradually decomposed by soil microorganisms. Continue up the slope, overlapping and staking the blanket in much the same way you would shingle a roof.

The Guardian Seed Starter Mulch Mat is available in 72 square-foot rolls for $15 each, plus $4 shipping and handling. Bio-STEKES are included. Call (800) 772-2040 for more information, or write to North American Green, 14649 Highway 41N, Evansville, IL 47711.

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