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Straw / Vegetative Mulching

Soil erosion is a big problem, especially around new construction projects. Disturbing the natural ground cover can result in serious problems for the environment later which is why contractors are actually required to use some form of erosion control on all sites. By far the most popular forms of erosion control include some form of straw or vegetative mulch. Properly used straw or vegetative mulch which covers at least 75% of the soil surface provides a better environment for seed germination, keeps seeds from washing away and reduces or slows runoff on slopes and other difficult areas.

There are three basic classes of straw or vegetative mulch; erosion control blankets, loose mulch and hydraulically applied mulch.

Loose Mulch

• The least expensive option
• Lasts up to three months
• Can cover large areas
• Can drive over it

  • Is lightweight so it tends to blow away unless tackifiers are added
  • Doesn’t work well on slopes
  • More likely to introduce weed seeds

Straw blankets/mats

ECB or erosion control blankets are more expensive then loose straw or vegetative mulch but are also much more difficult to install. Pros and cons depend upon the type used but all types share a couple of things in common including such as longevity and slope coverage.


Hydromulch is a mixture of wood mulch, fertilizer, a color dye, a tackifier (“glue”) agent and water to the consistency of pancake batter. The resultant mix, called slurry, is then evenly sprayed over the area to be treated.

Hydromulch is less expensive than some {though not all} straw or vegetative mulch choices but tends to last much longer while offering several advantage including ease of application, customizability and the ability to be applied to almost any ground slope ratio.