Here’s how you can control erosion using ground control netting!
Ground control netting (also known as erosion control netting) is a temporary means of protecting the surface of the soil from getting eroded. This type of netting is usually made out of synthetic material which is laid and anchored over straw or mulch to help in holding the mulch in place by protecting it from water damage and wind. It also brings down soil erosion and offers a good environment for the re-growth of vegetation. The material used for ground control netting is biodegradable, so it eventually gets decomposed and does not pose a threat to the environment.
When is Ground Control Netting Used?
This type of netting is often used on areas that are likely to erode near roads, homes, and bridges. Ground control netting can be used effectively on moderately steep, small, and disturbed areas. It acts as a ground cover and holds the soil. Coir or jute netting can also be used without mulch on flat sites for enhancing germination of seeds and dust control. However, you should not use it without mulch where the runoff quantities are supposedly quite high.
Ground control netting is not suitable for all types of situations. Take the help of the local NRCS office to help you decide if the use of netting is appropriate in your situation. Here are a few situations when ground control netting may not be appropriate:
Steep slopes with a rocky surface
Steep slopes with sandy soils
Steep slopes with a lot of remaining burnt vegetation
How to Apply Ground Control Netting for Landscaping
When there are established plants they are quite capable of holding the soil from eroding on a slope. However, it is quite challenging to get plants to remain on the slope for long enough in order for them to become established. There is the risk of water running off and washing away the young seedlings or plants before they get an opportunity to establish and develop strong root systems. To deal with this problem and to act as a plant support, install an erosion control mat on the slopes. These biodegradable ground control mats also known as erosion control blankets help to hold the soil in place till the seedlings are established and they slowly become part of the soil as they eventually degrade.
Here’s how you can apply ground control nets:
1. You need to remove all the debris, rocks, and plants from the slope and compact the soil.
2. Then you must loosen or till the top 2-3 inches of the soil on the slope. If required, amend the soil, so that it is able to support the types of plants that you wish to grow on the slope.
3. Plant seeds in the areas of the slope where you wish the vegetation to grow.
4. You need to dig a trench of around 6 inch in width across the top of the slope so that it helps to anchor the ground control mat. Position this trench around 2-3 feet behind the top edge of the slope.
5. Place the top of the ground control net in the trench, so that it lies flat against the bottom. As you do so, the roll of the netting needs to be on the side of the trench that is away from the slope. This will help the netting to cover the trench when it will be unrolled onto the slope.
6. You then need to secure this ground control blanket by driving stakes through the mat and into the bottom of the trench. You should use states of around 6 inches in a typical soil, around 8 inches for sandy soil, and around 12 inches for soft soils such as soft mud or sand. Place these staples at a distance of every 12 inches down the entire length of the trench.
7. Next you need to backfill the trench and compact the soil well.
8. Now unroll the ground control mat across the top of the backfilled trench and down the slope. Walk down backwards behind the roll so that you are able to keep it under control. Stop after every 25 feet to straighten the mat and pull up any excess slack. Ensure that the mat is in good contact with the soil. Repeat this procedure with a second ground control mat as required to cover the entire slope well. When you decide to use more than one mat, you should follow the instructions of the manufacturer to figure out whether you should be overlaying the mats or not and if yes by how much. Since this varies from product to product, it is always advisable to follow instructions from the manufacturer.
9. Secure the mats properly to the slope with staples by placing the staples every 3-5 feet down vertically along the length of the slope. Stagger them horizontally and space them around 18-24 inches away from one another.
10. Now dig another trench at the bottom of the slope, similar to the one you dug at the top. Anchor the bottom of the ground control netting into it following the same method.
11. Last but not the least you need to irrigate the slope well.
Things that you will need for this process:
Erosion-control blankets or mats
Staples or stakes
If you have a very large slope, you should consider renting the heavy equipment.
You can add perennials and trees from nursery pots to the slope after you install the ground control mat by cutting an ‘X’ in it and digging the planting hole below it.
If the slope is unstable for you to safely work upon, you should hire a professional engineer to evaluate the same and rectify the issue before you start laying out the erosion control blanket or even start placing the plants.