Document Type


Publication Date

January 1981


Introduction: Increasing public awareness of the desireability of protecting the environment from soil erosion caused by wind and water has centered attention on large construction projects such as highways and housing subdivisions, as well as on individual building sites and parking lots. If unattended, sediment produced from these areas pollutes surface water, restricts drainage, fills reservoirs, damages adjacent land, and upsets the natural ecology of lakes and streams. The search continues for products and practices that will prevent of lessen the amount of sediment leaving construction sites. Products currently in use include chemical as well as organic materials, and they are applied with barying degrees of success. Many designed to stabilize the unprotected soil for a long enough period of time for vegetation to become established are in wide use and are quite effectives (Clyde et al. 1978). Moreover, applying organic material to the soil surface around shallow-rooted crops has been a cultural practice for many years (Russell 1961). Janick (1963) summarized the effects of mulching as conservation of soil moisture, reduction of surface runoff and erosion, reduction of evaporation, and possible control of weeks. others (Borst and Woodburn 1942; Duley 1929) have indicated the value of mulches in reducing runoff and erosion. Mulching has been reported as superior to other treatments for reducing soil and water losses and stabilizing bare slopes before grass is established (swandson et al. 1965). Gilbert and Davis (1967) and Blaser (1962), in studies of highway slope stabilization, found mulches improved seed germination and seed;omg grpwtj bu conserving moisture and protecting highway slopes against erosion. Many materials have been evaluated for use as a mulch, including bark, wood wastes, soybean residues, wheat straw, and seaweed (Bollen and Glennie 1961; Kidder et al. 1943; Latimer and Percival 1947). McKee et al. (1964) found wheat straw to be one of the best mulches, particularly when used to aid vegitation establishment on steep cut slopes of highways. Osborne and Gilbert (1978) also demonstrated that shredded hardwood bark mulch provided adequate erosion control on highway slopes. The objectives of the present study was to evaluate, using simulated rainfall and wind, the effectiveness of various mulches and tackifiers for controlling erosion. Results of these tests are comparable to those obtained by the Utah Water Research Laboratory for CONWED in 1979 in that they wre generated in the same test facility on similar soil, using identical conditions of slope and rainfall rate.