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Sheet mulching idea  RSS feed

 
                    
Posts: 9
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Hey everybody! This is my first day as part of the forums, though I have been visiting for a while and I am happy to share ideas with everyone here.

I was wondering if we could have a discussion around whether natural jute, aspen, or coconut erosion control blankets would be useful for a weed barrier/carbon source for large sheet mulch sites.  I am not sure what the weave density is or how thick these are, so they may not be very good at stopping persistent weeds, this is where I am looking for someone who may have tried this before.

Here are a couple links:
http://www.benmeadows.com/search/erosion+control+blankets/31222535/
http://www.benmeadows.com/search/erosion+control+blankets/31222529/111401/?isredirect=true

(and by the way, Ben Meadows is a great resource if your looking for professional outdoor gear!)

Though it costs money, it seems like these may be useful on large sites to minimize driving around to find enough cardboard, limit the breaks in the weed barrier, and may look nicer on sites that require a more finished look from the beginning.

Let me know what you think!

-Troy
http://pittsburghpermaculture.org
 
                    
Posts: 0
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It might - if it can block out light and keep plants from growing up through it. I don't think it was designed for that, but I might be wrong. Some companies sell rolls of brown paper for mulching.

Here's one mulching paper (black, with resin binder). They used to have something that was approved organic, if I am not mistaken.

http://www.groworganic.com/planters-mulching-paper-48-x100-package.html
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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Hi Troy,  I live near the Burg and liked the link to the Pittsburgh site that you posted.  I wondered how do you join this group?  I tried to log in but there was no option to join that I saw.  I plan on being at the meeting at Phipps this Tuesday.  Hope I lean alot about the subject.  I am sorry that I dont have more personal info on the sheet mulches.  I have some hemp sheets here but have never actually used it on my place.  I got it for free and was hoping to use it to cover blue berrys.  It wasn't wide enough to work for that.  It would seem to me that any natural produce that rots over time should work well for what you want. 
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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Troy, I don't want to slam the breaks on this thread but wanted to offer my experience with sheet mulching. In my experience you don't need the weed barrier if you put on at least 8 inches of leaves/straw/hay in the sheet mulch. I've done a side by side comparison with and without cardboard and the difference was minimal. Since then I've switched almost completely to NOT using cardboard and I only have to weed beds every 6 weeks on average. Which was the same when I used cardboard. Unless you can get it easily I wouldn't bother.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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These are used extensively in erosion control management on construction or earthwork sites and I have both used and inherited them on sites where I've done veg mgmt.

In short:

They funciton for erosion control, not weed supression.
The jute/coir mesh products function poorly for mitigating raindrop impact (they don't cover enough) and then are LIVING HELL to plant through (difficult to cut every planting hole).
For large areas, seed followed by blown chopped straw can work as well without the manufacturing costs of straw mats (both paid and hidden) and you can add depth where useful.
There are a range of applications where you actually have moving water and need to keep soil in place until veg takes.
Washington DOT has largely shifted to compost blankets (4 inches blown in) which provide very high erosion control value along with all the other benefits of compost and the ability to serve as a relatively weed free seed bed.
For low cost bought in material I like hog fuel on a conveyer truck for woody, or straw chopped and blown or hand placed  and punched into soil with a knobby roller, using tackifier if facing liability. 
Sorry for the language density -- happy to try to answer specific questions.
 
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