Erosion Control Toolbox: Mulch



Mulch involves placing a blanket of organic material on fill slopes, cut slopes, and other disturbed roadside areas to reduce erosion and weed competition. Mulch is typically applied at a depth of 2" - 3".

The mulch specification allows the designer to select from the following materials:

  • Composted green material
  • Tree bark
  • Wood chips
  • Coarse woody grindings
  • Pine needles
  • Shredded bark

When to Use This Treatment

  • Typically applied on slopes 2:1 (H:V) and flatter
  • Use to reduce raindrop splash erosion and competition from weeds
  • Typically applied 2"-3” deep (270-400 cubic yards/acre)


  • Improved protection from raindrop splash erosion
  • Reduced competition from weed species
  • Reduced stormwater runoff volume and velocity
  • Improved infiltration rate
  • Conserves soil moisture
  • Improved potential for vigorous long term vegetation coverage
  • Easy application by pneumatic blower trucks or bulldozers (in flat areas)


  • Requires temporary storage space within the project limits to stockpile materials
  • Applying high levels of organic materials may not be appropriate in arid regions of the state
  • Functional longevity of less than three years
Standard Specifications
  • Refer to Standard Specifications - Section 20 Landscape

Consider Using With

To effectively treat sites with poor soils (compacted, nutrient depleted, or poorly draining), consider combining this treatment with:

Plans and Details

  • Sample Erosion Control Legend

Specify Mulch in the Erosion Control Legend:

Erosion control

Estimate Information

  • Use BEES code 205035 Wood Mulch

External Links



Updated: November 8, 2019