Turf Wars: ECBs v. TRMs

Erosion Control Blanket vs. Turf Reinforcement Mat
Are you looking to increase soil stabilization, decrease erosion and allow vegetation to effectively root? How do you know whether to use an Erosion Control Blanket (ECB) or Turf Reinforcement Mat (TRM)? The key to knowing which geotextile to use is to understand the climate and project application.

Erosion Control Blankets
Erosion Control Blankets (ECBs) are natural fiber geotextiles used for short-term, biodegradable erosion control and soil stabilization. ECBs help seal in moisture and allow seeds to grow from underneath the mat for effective vegetation growth in environmentally sensitive areas. As the erosion control mat degrades, it enriches the soil and contributes to long-term growth. The estimated length of germination time, climate and application affect which erosion blanket type is best used. For example, Coir Rolled Erosion Control Products (RECPs) made from coconut fibers take the longest to break down and work best in shade or colder climates where it takes longer to grow vegetation.

Types of erosion blankets:
·       Semi-permanent coir erosion control (4-6 years)
o   High-strength, open weave geotextile mat made from coconut fiber to accommodate steep slopes or increased water flow
·       Semi-temporary Coir Mats (9-24 months)
o   Control Mat OCF 30: stitched between two organic jute nets
o   Coir Straw Mat: Combination 70% straw and 30% coconut fiber, stitched between two synthetic nets
·       Temporary Erosion Control Mats (6-9 months)
o   Used in areas with small slopes and low water flows. Mats include:
§  Jute
§  Straw
§  Excelsior

ECB Applications
·       Wetland restoration
·       Stream bank restoration
·       Slope stabilization
·       Hillside erosion control
·       Channel filtration


Turf Reinforcement Mats

Turf Reinforcement Mats (TRMs) offer a near-permanent solution and are the top choice for immediate and long-term erosion control and prevention. TRMs are not biodegradable and should not be used in wetlands or other environmentally sensitive areas. However, these woven geotextiles allow for superior vegetation growth due to their 100 % polypropylene, UV-stabilized, heavy duty synthetic materials.
TRMs extend the performance limits of natural vegetation:
·       Acts as an artificial root system (seeds germinate from above and root down through the mat)
·       Holds soil in place
·       Accelerates vegetative development
·       Reinforces the vegetative cover
·       Doubles in strength when vegetated
·       Provides a permanent solution in which they are anchored to the ground

TRM Applications

Slope Protection
·       Protect seed and soil from eroding during germination
·       Maintain moisture and heat to stimulate growth
·       Reduce runoff and promote infiltration
·       Used instead of blown straw and hydraulic mulching

Bank Protection

·       Protect seed and soil from eroding during germination
·       Maintain moisture and heat to stimulate growth
·       Reduce runoff and promote infiltration
·       Used instead of rock riprap, and concrete paving


Pipe Inlet/Outlets
·       Protect seed & soil from eroding during germination
·       Capture additional moisture & sediment & maintain heat to stimulate growth
·       Reduce runoff & promote infiltration
·       Extend the erosion protection ability of mature vegetation
·       Used instead off rock riprap, and concrete paving

Channel Lining

·       Protect seed & soil from eroding during germination
·       Maintain moisture & heat to stimulate growth
·       Reduce runoff & promote infiltration
·       Used instead of rock riprap, and concrete paving