Seed germination is the process by which a seed grows into a plant. During the early stages, especially for delicate species, this process can be extremely vulnerable. Outside factors and artificial means are often employed to ensure a seedling’s survival. A special type of protection is needed to achieve this goal. Arguably the most effective and the most widely used tool for this job is erosion control matting.
Erosion control matting, more commonly known as erosion control blankets or ECBs, primarily offer an effective means of protection against soil, wind, and water erosion. These biodegradable sheets of natural fiber are mainly used on landscaped areas and moderate to steep slopes. But ECBs also have the added benefit of protecting seeds and seed mixes from being eroded or displaced during heavy rains, strong winds, or other major weather phenomenon. Their dense composition also aids in water retention which makes seed germination easier.
To make sure that an erosion control blanket performs adequately, there are certain factors to look for when canvassing for a purchase. When buying an ECB for the purpose of protecting seed germination, one should make sure that:
- The ECB is easy to install. The ECB should be well-made and compact enough not to be torn or damaged when it is tucked into the ground. The placement should be level, and it should be quick and easy. These blankets should also possess superior shear stress ratings.
- The ECB is dense enough to protect from birds and too much sun. Birds are a common pest when growing seedlings and their impact should not be underestimated. Too much sun can also kill delicate seedling species. The ECB should be dense enough to promote water retention and combat the heat of the sun.
- The ECB should have superior water retention. As mentioned above, water retention is important when facilitating seedling growth. The ECB should slow down excess water flow but be dense enough to prevent too much evaporation.
Well-made, dense, and biodegradable blankets are the ECBs of choice for common gardeners, landscaping workers, and construction firms alike. The American Excelsior Company’s Curlex® line of erosion control blankets have been the preferred choice for most of these people since the early 1960’s. There is also an ECB made by the same company that specializes in protecting grass seedlings, among other features, called the QuickGRASS Pro.