Erosion Control Toolbox: Fiber
Fiber is used as a carrying agent and as a mulch in hydroseeding. Fiber must be wood fiber, cellulose fiber, alternate fiber, or a combination thereof. Application rate varies based upon fiber material, slope roughness, slope steepness and seed type. Select one of the fiber products from the detailed information provided below.
When to Use this Product
Fiber TypesIf you are uncertain which fiber to select, specify wood or a wood/cellulose combination.
Wood fiber must be a long-strand, whole wood fiber that is thermomechanically processed from clean whole wood chips. Wood fiber is manufactured from wood or wood waste from lumber mills or urban sources. It is applied at a total rate of 600 to 2,000 pounds/acre, either in a single or two-step application.
- Wood fiber biodegrades more slowly than cellulose fiber
- Wood fibers are longer than cellulose and mesh together to reduce erosion
- Wood requires less moisture during application than cellulose
- Wood holds more moisture and releases moisture more slowly than cellulose
- At rates up to 3000 lbs/acre, wood permits more air to pass to the seed to prevent die off
- Wood fiber costs more per pound than cellulose fiber
Cellulose fiber is of shorter length than wood fiber mulches and must be made from natural or recycled pulp fiber, such as wood chips, sawdust, newsprint, chipboard, corrugated cardboard, or a combination of these materials. Cellulose mulch has shorter fiber lengths than wood fiber mulches because they are produced from fiber initially manufactured to create smooth surfaces for paper products and other non-mulch uses. When applied, the shorter fibers of cellulose products may clump rather than interlock.
Cellulose fiber is typically applied at the rate of 2,000 to 4,000 pounds/acre.
- Cellulose fiber costs less than wood fiber
- Applied at higher rates, cellulose fiber may create a "paper mache" type layer, leading to poor seed germination
Cellulose and Wood Fiber Blend
Blended mulches of 50% wood fiber and 50% cellulose fiber combine the performance characteristics of wood fiber, which interlocks for erosion protection, and the economy of clean, recycled paper fiber for bulk.
Cellulose/Wood blended fiber is applied at a total rate of 600 to 2,000 pounds/acre, either in a single or two-step application.
- Less expensive than wood mulch alone
- Combines the erosion control benefits of wood with the cost efficiencies of cellulose
- More expensive than cellulose mulch alone
Alternate fiber is composed of long strand, whole natural fibers made from clean straw, cotton, corn, or other natural feed stock.
Alternate fiber is applied at a total rate of 600 to 2,000 pounds/acre, either in a single or two-step application.
- David Steinfield, Scott Riley, Kim Wilkinson, Thomas D. Landis, Lee Riley, et al. 2017. "Roadside Revegetation, An Integrated Approach to Establishing Native Plants and Pollinator Habitat"
Updated: February 19, 2019