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Carpet Mulch


carpet mulch soil erosion prevention carpet mulch soil erosion prevention

Damon, If I lived next to you, all those useful things would be in my barn!  Suggest anyone needing cover for erosion to try lengths of carpet.  I've not found anything that works as well, when it gets wet, it weighs a ton, water finds it hard to gain a foothold to tear it loose, seeds that drop on it will sprout and grow roots through it making it a permanent structure, anchor it with sand bags and tie it to whatever is available until it becomes throughly  wet.  I lay it in the bottom of drainage ditches where they cross driveways to preserve the ditch and provide a solid bottom. Once grass has established itself, you don't know the carpet is there.  I've used carpet for 15 - 20 years and scavenge it from trash days in town or anyone who is getting new carpet will bring me the old.  You have to see it working to be sold on the process.  Rita

  Morning Damon, I have been using carpet, all sizes, shapes, and, yes, colors for many years.  Photos are a bit hard to come by and I haven't any before and after.  We have a pick-your-own operation and have drainage ditches crossing our lines of travel.  I cut the carpet (utility knife, carefully) in strips that are wide enough to cover bottom and up the sides to ground level.  The destruction of ditches comes from driving continually thru the mud or water in ditch and carrying the mud away on the tires.  There are days we have over 100 cars traveling lanes so a lot of mud gets hauled away.  I've used all the carpet i could find to stop the washing of my creek banks, side hills, or anywhere it is difficult to hold seed long enough to get it sprouted and growing.  Once the carpet becomes wet, it hugs the ground and weighs a considerable amount and defies lifting or moving.  The carpet is a wonderful medium to host any kind of seed.  I first used carpet in my veg. garden to keep weeds down.  They happily used the carpet for a growing medium.  By seasons end, their roots have gone thru the carpet and are firmly attached to the ground which anchors the carpet and it will not move.  That is true wherever you use it.  I don't recommend it in the garden as the glues, etc. used in the carpet affect the growth of the plants.  When planting new tree seedlings, I cut good sized pieces of carpet, allow space for seedling to grow, and place around the seedling to hold down grass and weeds.  I do conservation planting of seedlings in waste areas and these squares also help me find the seedlings.  It's hard on paper to describe how well carpeting works. I lay it in waterways that need repairs where the water has washed and then put in stone, the water can't wash around the stone because of the carpet.  I have found, also, that if your wash out is severe, you are allowed to put used tires down in the trench and then cover with stone or sand bags. If done well, that will never wash out.   I wish I had had carpeting years back when the river was tearing away a high bank along our driveway.  SWCD recommended 400 ton of stone.  I couldn't afford the stone, so bought 25 ton of sand, filled 1000 sand bags and solved the problem.  When sand bags get soaking wet, they aren't going to move either.  Unfortunately, 2 yrs. later the river changed course, but the side hill is still permanently fixed.  Carpeting will decay, but it takes quite sometime.  I have one section hanging over a wash out in the creek bank that has been there for five years.  The Huron River in Ohio is a formidable foe and people laughed at my efforts to find a way to prevent its destructive ways.  They don't laugh anymore.  Once ground washes away, it can't be returned, carpet has a place in this cycle.  We farm and use carpeting for many things besides conservation.  Muddy boots and carpeting work well together, good for working under and around equipment, used in tractor cabs on the floor, it keeps your feet off the cold floor, hauling abrasive loads in pick up, carpet protects the finish, roll up a long piece of carpeting, tie it and place it between trees or posts to slow rushing water to prevent it digging a deeper channel and also it will make the water drop some of the silt it carries.  Guess I've ran on long enough, the most problems I have is convincing people I have a use for the carpet.  Rita

  Damon, Thank you for the news, it's great to hear that I'm not alone in this venture.  We are 4th and 5th generation farmers in the Lake Erie region of Ohio.  Growing corn, beans, wheat, small fruit, asparagus.  We are known by Troy Mills Farms, taken from a gentleman named Troy who operated a grist mill below our house.  The Huron River surrounds our farm on three sides.  We have no-tilled since 1980 and work to conserve our water and soil.  California is ahead of the game in demanding some measure of conserving the soil.  Thumbs up for the vineyards and I may need to persuade my daughter to use it in her asparagus fields where erosion is a problem.  My father practiced conservation before there was a word for it.  SWCD does it's best in a limited way as their rules do not allow any variance, they are tied to only what is allowed in their rule book and that doesn't promote individual thought.  They are improving.  We are long time farmers, which perhaps makes us professionals.  I  shy away from the term, expert.  I tend to be the resident source of information for people looking for an answer that comes from experience, whether it's how to can, what trees to plant, where to find someone who can fix anything they need, not said to brag, simply that at 80 years of age this is all filed in my head.  But I get away from the purpose of writing.  I hope you can be  successful in encouraging people to use this free and useful material which is thrown away.  Along Lake Erie, the wild garlic plant is a very invasive species, They gather groups to pull it up but perhaps this might be a place that is useful for the carpet. The carpet could be cut in manageable sizes and when the garlic has grown thru the carpet, pull up the carpet and it will pull out the garlic, then turn the carpet upside down and put it back.   i also use it under my evergreens where weeds love to grow, placing it about a foot back from the outer edges and then using grass clipping or mulch to surround the carpet edge. It can be pulled up each year if necessary, laid in the sun upside down to kill the weed roots and put back in place. It also works well to provide a clean exit from farm ponds when it gets used by loads of youngsters.  If you are interested in providing a place for snakes and other small crawling helpful creatures, a carpet placed in a corner and settled so it has wrinkles, it will be loved.  Mice also gravitate there so the snakes have their lunch come to them. Cut in lengths, it covers woodpiles and doesn't blow as with plastic.  There are countless uses and once you find how well it works, then you wonder where you can find more carpet.

Sorry to have been so long-winded, I'm happy to see something done with carpet.  I am a long time forager for items I can use to fix something.  Farming doesn't provide a lot of money to always buy new what is needed, a little imagination and you can fill the need.  Which is why I am so interested in your venture and the interest you generate from people.  My grandson is a chip off the old block, he came home with half of an adirondack chair he is going to rebuild.  Best of luck, Rita