Erosion occurs when any force–natural or human–leads to the destruction of soil, cliffs, coasts, and other natural landscapes. Like climate change, erosion is a naturally occurring event made more severe due to human activity. While erosion cannot be fully avoided, its occurrence and effects can be mediated with the use of burlap erosion control bags and fabric.
Coastal erosion is caused by higher sea levels and severe weather events. Water is the main cause of beach/coastal erosion, including:
- Waves: Boats and other natural causes displace loose soil, especially if the natural vegetation has been removed from the area
- Storm Water: A storm can move over loose soil, displaying layers of soil which is referred to as ‘sheet erosion’
- Ice: When lakes melt as temperatures rise, ice is pushed onto the shore and disrupts the coastline; ice as a factor of erosion will only increase as water levels continue to rise
- Splash: Rain from heavy storms hits the loose soil and causes heavy displacement
Soil erosion occurs when topsoil is moved by water, wind, or other forces that cause displacement and destruction. It can also be caused by deforestation, overgrazing, agrochemical use, construction, and recreational activities. According to a 2014 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report, global topsoil could be depleted within 60 years, and so controlling soil erosion is an ever-increasing priority, especially for regions that rely on agriculture for their economic stability and welfare, like the midwest.
Erosion control is the use of stacked bags or laid fabric to prevent the displacement of soil on flatlands, cliffs, and coasts, among other natural landscapes. Erosion control bags allow water to flow freely through while holding back any soil, shoreline sand, and sediment. The right erosion control fabric will be durable through heavy storms, as well as extreme sun exposure and varying temperatures throughout the seasons.
Burlap, an eco-friendly and highly flexible material made from natural jute fibers, is an excellent option for temporary erosion control. Unlike its more processed textile counterparts, like woven polypropylene, burlap is biodegradable, which means that it will need to be replaced ever six to twelve months.
For erosion control, and especially in controlling slope erosion, burlap bags can be stacked on top of each other to make soil, rocks, and mud move more slowly downhill. Rain, snowfall, and high temperatures can cause faster movement down hills, but these burlap erosion control bags, when stacked, can reduce or even completely prevent debris from falling on roads below. Burlap bags can also be used to redirect mudslides, in addition to preventing topsoil displacement by allowing only water to pass through the bags, and preventing movement of sediment, sand, or soil that can cause further disruption to the natural landscape.
While burlap rolls are traditionally used for landscaping fabric, using rolls of burlap fabric are another good option for erosion control. Laying sheets of burlap fabric can help prevent erosion on slopes, embankments, and riverbanks, amongst other other landscapes. When laying burlap for erosion control, clear away all debris from the area, then secure the fabric with stakes every few feet. Once the burlap’s been laid, add grass or seeds, which will work against any possible erosion, but keep in mind a 6-12 month replacement time due to the fabric’s biodegradable nature.
At Commercial Supply Co., we import raw burlap fabric in large-size roles, and our trained specialists can cut and sew any sized burlap bag needed for your erosion control operation. When ordering burlap by the yard to lay erosion control sheets, burlap can be cut in 36″, 40″, 48″, 60″, and 72″ widths. Burlap bags–with or without drawstring closures–are typically ordered in a wide range of sizes, from 4″ x 6″ to 23″ x 40″, but can be cut and sewn to nearly any custom specification, as well.