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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of Cotton-Based Hydro-Mulches to Conventional Wood and Paper Hydro-Mulches-Study II

Authors
item Holt, Gregory
item Buser, Michael
item Harmel, Daren
item Potter, Kenneth

Research conducted cooperatively with:
item Prt Marketing, Llc.

Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 10, 2005
Publication Date: September 11, 2005
Citation: Holt, G., Buser, M., Harmel, D., Potter, K. 2005. Comparison of cotton-based hydro-mulches and conventional wood and paper hydro-mulches--Study II. The Journal of Cotton Science. 9:128-134.

Interpretive Summary: Mulches are commonly used to reduce soil erosion resulting from rainfall from sites with steep slopes, bare soil, or construction activity. Mulches that are applied using hydro-seeders or hydro-mulchers are known as hydro-mulches. Conventional hydro-mulches are commonly made from paper, wood, or some blend thereof. In a previous study, conventional hydro-mulches were compared to cotton-based mulches produced from cotton gin byproducts and cottonseed hulls. This study is a follow-up study from the first evaluation. A total of six mulches were evaluated: a) paper hydro-mulch, b) wood hydro-mulch, c) three cotton gin byproduct mulches produced using the COBY process, and d) cottonseed hulls. The mulches were applied on an unconsolidated sandy clay loam soil tilted at a 9% slope using a commercial hydro-mulcher at rates of 2000 and 3000 lb/acre. Mulches evaluated in the study experienced a 4.1 inches of simulated rain per hour. Results indicate the cotton-based mulches performed equal to of better than the wood and paper hydro-mulches in reducing erosion and promoting grass seed establishment. The COBY mulch produced from Texas stripper gin waste had significantly less soil in the runoff than did either the wood or paper mulches. However, the soil coverage of the cotton-based mulches was lower than the wood and paper mulches. Overall, the cotton-based mulches performed well and show great promise for erosion control applications, but refinement of the product is needed in order to produce a product that provides soil coverage equal to its performance in reducing soil erosion.

Technical Abstract: The erosion of soil from steep slopes, bare soil, or construction sites can create gully formations that adversly impact fish and/or wildlife in the surronding environment as well as limiting the ability of beneficial vegetation to become established. Mulches have been one means of mitigating the effects of erosion. Mulches that are commonly applied to disturbed soil or steep slopes with a hydro-mulcher are commonly known as hydro-mulches. Wood and paper are the most commonly used hydro-mulches. In this study, conventional wood and paper hydro-mulches were compared to cottonseed hulls and three thypes of processed cotton gin by-products. The mulches were applied at two rates, 2241 and 3362 kg/ha (2000 and 3000 lb/ac). An unconsolidated sandy clay loam soil on a 9% slope was used and subjected to a 10.41 cm/hr (4.01-in/hr) rain event. The response variables investigated were: 1)mulch loss (as percent of applied), 2) soil loss, 3) grass seed establishment, and 4) mulch coverage factor (C-Factor). Results indicated the initial C-Factor values for the cotton-based mulches were lower than the wood or paper mulches. However, even with the lower C-Factor values for the cotton-based mulches perform equal to or better than the conventional wood and paper mulches in reducing soil erosion and promoting grass seed establishment. Overall, the cotton-based mulches showed great promise in erosion control applications but refinement of the product is needed in order to produce a hydro-mulch that provides soil coverage equal to the performance seen in reducing soil erosion.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014
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