When you think about erosion control options, the most commonly used methods include erosion control blankets and straw wattles. Filtration fencing, such as silt fencing, can also be an option but isn’t as useful as blankets and wattles.
The problem with these options is they’re often designed using synthetic fabrics or materials, which can be challenging to clean up or can leach harmful chemicals into the soil if misused. Erosion control socks, a relatively new product, provide an eco-friendly alternative to the more traditional erosion control methods.
What Are Erosion Control Socks?
Erosion control socks are very similar in function to straw wattles. However, instead of being filled with straw — which can mold — or artificial materials, erosion control socks are filled with compost or vegetation. In some cases, the socks themselves are made of biodegradable material, meaning they require little to no cleanup.
Benefits of Erosion Control Socks
There are many benefits to using erosion control socks over silt fencing or other traditional erosion control methods. Their ease of installation is a significant reason why people choose them: Simply fill the tube with the vegetation or compost of your choice, and lay the erosion control sock where it’s needed. If you’re working with a sloped surface, you might have to dig a shallow trench, but overall, erosion control socks have far fewer setup and cleanup requirements than traditional erosion control methods.
Erosion control socks also provide a lower profile than silt fencing or traditional straw wattles, allowing for more visibility on your project site. And, depending on the filling you choose for your erosion control sock, you can get multiple uses out of it. Because wood chips, compost, and other organic filler materials are affordable, erosion control socks offer a cost-effective way to prevent sediment transfer into local waterways and ensure your construction project meets local requirements.
Coir as a Filler for Erosion Control Socks
While we often talk about the usability of coir fiber, there’s another coir product that is useful for erosion control socks: coir pith. Coir pith is also referred to as ‘waste-grade coir,’ as it’s the byproduct of coir production. However, it’s still full of nutrients and is available in a natural compost.
Using coir pith in your erosion control socks can ensure superior water retention and filtration. In addition to being affordable, coir pith carries all the properties of coir mats. It’s resistant to bacteria and fungal growth, breaks down over time, and is incredibly durable. If you’re looking for a sock filler that will allow you to use your erosion control socks for multiple projects, coir pith might be one of your best options.
As the importance of sustainable, eco-friendly erosion control methods continues to grow, research into viable options such as erosion control socks will only increase. Erosion control socks are cost-effective, biodegradable tools to prevent erosion on slopes, on flat construction locations, and in residential gardens and landscapes. Their reusability makes them a perfect tool to add to any project kit.
Consider using erosion control socks over more traditional methods such as silt fencing or straw wattles.