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Organic geotextile fabric?

 
Posts: 107
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Hi,
I'd need to use a geotextile fabric as a support layer for a gravel layer on the surface of a dirt access road, but would like to find about products that don't use plastic fibers or some other type of alternative to geotextile even.
Does anyone know any?
Thanks
 
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We need someone who knows exactly what the geotextile is doing in your situation.
1. Is it to stop the gravel and the dirt from mixing? In this case, something like sheets of newspaper or used burlap sacks might do the job.
2. Is it to allow water to flow where you want it and not where you don't? In this case, salvaged chain-link fencing might do the job?
3. Is it to provide a continuous support permanently or temporarily to hold things together? (like interfacing does for the front of a suit jacket where the buttons and button-holes go so things don't stretch out of shape) In this situation, biodegradable wouldn't be a good idea.
4. Does a layer of geotextile simply reduce the amount of gravel you would otherwise need to do the job? In this case, would rocky fill with a layer of decent gravel for the top be enough to do the job?
I suppose it also matters whether you're doing this for yourself, or someone else. If you do something and it doesn't work, so long as you feel you'll be able to fix it, an experiment would also be a learning experiment. If it's for someone else who's depending on you to get it right the first time, that may limit your options.
These are just my "off the top of my head ideas from my own experiences in a wet climate" - they are intended to encourage out-side the box thinking, not limit what you're willing to try in your situation.
 
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Rock...

I am not really being difficult by saying that. I had a soil engineer on one of my Heavy Haul Roads the USDA was paying for, insist I use road fabric because the road was a 9% grade. Anyway I put in the sub-base and had the road lifted about two feet with rock, and she looked at that and said, "I did not know you were  you going to do all this. I don't think you need road fabric..."

I have built a lot of roads to Federal Specifications and have never used fabric, I just use rock.

This is what that Federal Soil Engineer saw when she realized there was no need for fabric. (BTW: A 9% grade for a tractor trailer truck, is an enormous grade)

DSCN5070.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN5070.JPG]
Sub-Based Road
 
Travis Johnson
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If you have a lot of wood handy, you can "corduroy" the road. There are logging roads that were done that way in the 1930's, and they are still in use today. Under 12 inches of soil, oxygen does not get to the wood and it does not rot.
 
Posts: 802
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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As a Road Engineer at times, I can say Geotextile works best in boggy ground.
If you have tonnes of rock available, you may get away without it, but its primary use is to reduce the amount of rock used.
Because it is usually in water, I can not imagine anyting ele but plastic or a variation being used to make the item.
 
Travis Johnson
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John C Daley wrote:As a Road Engineer at times, I can say Geotextile works best in boggy ground.
If you have tonnes of rock available, you may get away without it, but its primary use is to reduce the amount of rock used.
Because it is usually in water, I can not imagine anyting ele but plastic or a variation being used to make the item.



My understanding was that geotextile keeps the gravel from mixing with the mud underneath while under traffic load. I can see where that might work. I am not sure why the Soil Engineer insisted upon using it in my application though, but she kept saying it was because it was such a steep slope. It would seem to me that the gravel would suffer more from sheer because of it, but I am not sure. She just kept saying it was required.

I could see where it could reduce cost in the right circumstance.

I am blessed with rock here. It normally would be a dirty word in farming, but we were a potato farm primarily, from 1838-1988 so we have these "rock dumps". We call it "potato rock" because there are mounds, some the size of a house, that have clean rock the size of potatoes all dumped into a pile. We use it for so much stuff, like rubble filled foundations, French drains, and even septic system rock since it allows for drainage. But we can also use it for roads. Typically in a wet spot, I will haul in load after load from a rock wall I want removed from some place on my farm, and then the potato rock, and then gravel.

Another thing I do, is take bigger rock, say 8 to 12 inches, and place on the inslope of the road, and then pound it in with an excavator. That helps lock the gravel in so when you roll over the road with a loaded truck, the gravel does not slump out from the pressure. That really keeps the road stiff, and prevents erosion of the gravel as well.
 
Antonio Scotti
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Hi,
many thanks for all your replies.

The main aim is to avoid the rock base to mix with the mud and keep the grass from growing through it. The idea is also to reduce maintenance work as much as possible. This said, this is just an access road which is not going to have, presumably, a lot of traffic, especially heavy traffic. The most I can think of can be a pick-up pulling a trailer two to four times a year.
The area is in a Mediterranean climate with 300+ml - 600ml rainfall range. Sometime it can rain a lot for a period but then there can also be long dry spells. I'll attach a photo of the place being worked out.
Given that the traffic will be little and the weight not huge, rethinking the whole thing...is a geotextile really important to include in such a situation at all?

Jay said:

1. Is it to stop the gravel and the dirt from mixing? In this case, something like sheets of newspaper or used burlap sacks might do the job.  


Sheets of paper (or even cardboard?) or burlap sound interesting, but will decompose quite quickly I think. The paper unless very thick will break quickly under the weight of a pick-up, especially if moist.

Thanks for the pointer to the basalt fabric. I see that it seems to be mainly manufactured in China, isn't it?
Does it work well as a grass barrier as well?
acceso-Tb2.JPG
[Thumbnail for acceso-Tb2.JPG]
 
Jay Angler
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The picture suggests you have fencing on one side of the new road, and a steep embankment on the other. Will grass coming through the gravel be a problem? It may simply mean that once or twice a year you need to mow it, or if you can gate the two ends even temporarily, get some animals to mow it. The road on our farm has grass in the middle with gravel where there's enough traffic to stop the grass from growing. The grass in the middle rarely gets tall enough to need mowing due to foot traffic or dolly's that move on it. I find that trying to stop grass from the bottom is a loosing proposition, as we get tree duff, maple keys and other biodegradable stuff landing on any gravel area, turning into soil that allows weeds to germinate. I try where possible, to plant something we don't mind, rather than have Mother Nature plant something we would prefer not be there (read spiky that will damage my bicycle tires!)
 
Travis Johnson
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I do not see any reason for Geotextile Fabric from that photo.

It really does not look like it is overly muddy, and it does not look like you would need to haul in a lot of gravel even. It looks to me like just a few inches of the stuff to keep the surface from sliming up during rain would be sufficient.

As for the grass groing up through, I am not even sure you need it for that. It is hard to say because I am not sure if it is the climate, or your pasture is overgrazed, but it does not look like grass will be an issue at all. I get some grass on my roadway, and I just mow in on occassion.
 
Antonio Scotti
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Jay, Travis, the more I think of it the more I become convinced of how right you are. I think there is no real need there of having a geotextile fabric
and as for the grass, it may probably overgrow a little bit in spring time, which is the time of the year that can receive some substantial amount o rain
but it can be perfectly be mowed every now and then.

As for the grass, the photo was taken just a few days ago, there is not much grass around because we are at the end of summer/start of fall, which is usually very dry
and also the grass that was cut before summer decomposed very quickly, but there is no grazing going on there. Need to resow the field again soon.

Travis, how much gravel, what thickness I mean, do you think I can/should use and what type? I read that there are several types, some have a more uniform composition while others have
stones of different sizes in just one mix
Should I use something to contain the gravel on the other side of the stone wall, like a course of rocks all along the gravel road (by the way there is no fence there, just some posts to mark the road border)?
We have lots of dry stone wall type of rock in the property that could be used for that purpose.
Best
 
John C Daley
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I am surprised at the depth of cut you have made. A vertical wall will be unstable in most soil conditions.
If you moved the track out a bit further and used any cut material as fill on the lefy hand side, it may be a beter outcome.
 
Travis Johnson
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Antonio Scotti wrote:Jay, Travis, the more I think of it the more I become convinced of how right you are. I think there is no real need there of having a geotextile fabric
and as for the grass, it may probably overgrow a little bit in spring time, which is the time of the year that can receive some substantial amount o rain
but it can be perfectly be mowed every now and then.

As for the grass, the photo was taken just a few days ago, there is not much grass around because we are at the end of summer/start of fall, which is usually very dry
and also the grass that was cut before summer decomposed very quickly, but there is no grazing going on there. Need to resow the field again soon.

Travis, how much gravel, what thickness I mean, do you think I can/should use and what type? I read that there are several types, some have a more uniform composition while others have
stones of different sizes in just one mix
Should I use something to contain the gravel on the other side of the stone wall, like a course of rocks all along the gravel road (by the way there is no fence there, just some posts to mark the road border)?
We have lots of dry stone wall type of rock in the property that could be used for that purpose.
Best



Here, the standard call is for 12 inches of gravel, and is good practice, but it depends on the anticipated loads. With the light loads you will most likely have, you could probably get away with 6 inches, or possibly four. If I was you, I would just put down four inches, just enough to keep the soil from getting slimy in the rain, and see how it does. If that little gravel works for you, hey great, you have just saved yourself a bunch of money and your road works just fine. But if it is not enough, well hey just add another 4 inches in the future. Its no big deal, you are not out anything. But if you dump a foot of gravel in the road, and four inches would have worked, then you did waste some money.

As for gravel, here we have mixed gravel right out of the bank, which we call bank-run, so it is not screened or anything. It works pretty well. I happen to have my own gravel pit, and it is made up of various sizes of rock and dirt. It is actually really good gravel for coming straight out of the ground, and even passes the United States Federal Government standards. Still it lacks clay, so I try and mix overburden so that it compacts better.

 
Antonio Scotti
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John C Daley wrote:I am surprised at the depth of cut you have made. A vertical wall will be unstable in most soil conditions.
If you moved the track out a bit further and used any cut material as fill on the lefy hand side, it may be a beter outcome.


Hi John, the straight angle cut that is visible in the photo was already a dry stone wall, but it was very deteriorated, so the operator took everything off and the dry stone wall will be rebuilt.
 
Travis Johnson
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Antonio Scotti wrote:

John C Daley wrote:I am surprised at the depth of cut you have made. A vertical wall will be unstable in most soil conditions.
If you moved the track out a bit further and used any cut material as fill on the lefy hand side, it may be a beter outcome.


Hi John, the straight angle cut that is visible in the photo was already a dry stone wall, but it was very deteriorated, so the operator took everything off and the dry stone wall will be rebuilt.




Oh that will be perfect, not only a retaining wall to support the slope, but a nice looking one. Nice plan (but then again I LOVE rock walls!)
 
Antonio Scotti
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By the way, I asked the machine operator to actually slope out a little bit the surface of the access path towards the field in order to have a better drainage and discharge excess water where the trees will be....I wonder if it was a good decision.
Also, do yo think that the actual surface of the pathway will need to be compacted by the machine before actually pouring the gravel? If this is so, then some of the trees may probably suffer a bit because some of them are quite close to the pathway so their root systems won't probably be able t extend very much below the pathway (or so I think)
 
Travis Johnson
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Antonio Scotti wrote:By the way, I asked the machine operator to actually slope out a little bit the surface of the access path towards the field in order to have a better drainage and discharge excess water where the trees will be....I wonder if it was a good decision.
Also, do yo think that the actual surface of the pathway will need to be compacted by the machine before actually pouring the gravel? If this is so, then some of the trees may probably suffer a bit because some of them are quite close to the pathway so their root systems won't probably be able t extend very much below the pathway (or so I think)



You will not need to compact the subbase...just add your gravel and compact that, with the bulldozer or whatever is spreading it out, or your car or pickup afterwards.
 
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