Erosion Control Netting

What is Erosion Control Netting?

Erosion control netting is a temporary measure to protect the soil surface. It is usually made of a synthetic material that is laid and anchored over straw or other mulch to hold the mulch in place and protect it from wind and water damage. It reduces soil erosion and provides a good environment for vegetative regrowth. The material is photodegradable or biodegradable, so it will eventually decompose and is not a threat to the environment.

When is Erosion Control Netting Used?

This practice is often used on areas that may erode near structures such as homes, roads, and bridges. Erosion control netting can be used on small, moderately steep, disturbed areas. Jute or coir netting can also be applied without mulch on flat sites for dust control and seed germination enhancement. However, it should not be used without mulch where runoff quantities are expected to be high. Erosion control netting is not appropriate in all situations, and the local NRCS office can help you decide if the use of netting is appropriate in your case. Situations when netting may not be appropriate include the following.

  1. Steep slopes with sandy soils
  2. Steep slopes with many rocks on the surface
  3. Steep slopes with a lot of burned vegetation remaining

How is Erosion Control Netting Installed?

The soil surface should be reasonably smooth. Rocks and other obstructions which rise above the level of the soil and mulch must be removed. Erosion control netting can be purchased from a construction material supplier. Individual rolls of erosion control netting should be applied up and down the slope and never along the contour. The end of the netting at the top of the disturbed area should be buried in a trench at least eight inches deep. Rolls should be laid out so that edges overlap each other by at least six inches across the slope. When more than one roll is required going down the slope, the ends should overlap by at least three feet in a shingle fashion. This is extremely important!

Anchor pins or staples are used to anchor the netting to the soil surface. Anchor pins are made of rigid, 0.12-inch diameter or heavier, galvanized wire with a minimum length of 10 inches for hook or “J” type pins. Staples should be of wire .09 inches in diameter or greater and should have U-shaped legs at least six inches in length. Longer staples are needed for sandy soil.

Staples or anchor pins need to be driven perpendicularly into the slope face and should be spaced about five feet apart down the sides and center of the roll. Staples at the upper end of a roll and at the end overlap of two rolls should not be greater than one foot apart.

Erosion control netting should go beyond the edge of the mulched or seeded area by at least one foot at the sides and three feet at the bottom. If there is existing vegetation at the boundaries of the area, the erosion control netting should be continued into the stable vegetated area or to the edge of a structure.

Placement of erosion control netting and construction of straw check dams.








Volunteers and NRCS employees apply erosion control netting, construct straw check dams, and use straw mulching to reduce erosion in this small, ephemeral drainage that was severely burned in the Bitterroot Valley during 2000.

Erosion Control Netting Illustration

Illustration describing the method used to apply erosion control netting.