Jute Mesh vs Jute Mat

Date: 03-Oct-2017 Landscaping News

Jute mat and jute mesh are made of plant materials and hessian, and, amongst many other uses, are woven into a long strips (bales) of matting that can be used on land management projects to help compress weed growth and control erosion.

For simplicity, and the point of this article, Jute Mat is a closed weaved product (see image above on left) and lets limited sunlight through to the soil surface below (this is why it can supress weed growth and “potentially” help with moisture control).

Jute Mesh however is an open weaved (see image above on right) product that lets maximum amount of sunlight through to the soil surface below.

Therefore why use one over the other?

If you are seeding or just want or need to stabilise the soil surface and allow natural recruitment of species to occur (seeds already naturally in the soil or ones that will blow into the site from neighbouring sites) then you want and need sunlight to penetrate to the soil surface below; therefore Jute Mesh is the way to go.

If you are planting out plants and want to just provide weed suppression around your planted plants and “some” moisture control and erosion control then Jute Matis the way to go.

Therefore;

  • You want to seed and control erosion – Jute Mesh
  • You want to control erosion and allow natural recruitment to occur (for free) – Jute Mesh
  • You want to plant tube stock plants, have minimum to no initial weed control budget and want to control erosion – Jute Mat

Remember though that because Jute Mesh lets in more light there may likely be more weeds to control (NOT always – depends on the site- and maybe “weeds’ are all that you need or desire?- now that’s another topic)

However we do see specs calling for planting into Jute Mesh with mulch put underneath the product to control weeds and offer erosion control. So let’s discuss this strategy.

The manufacturers specifications on both products tells us that these products must be in contact with the soil surface. They say this so the product can slow down surface water flows (and therefore “control or limit” erosion) and not be uplifted by water and/or wind. If you therefore put mulch between the soil surface and the Jute Mesh the product will offer you limited erosion control, (if or once the mulch rots or washes away), not be installed as per manufacturers guidelines and be vulnerable to displacement.

I’m not saying that this strategy won’t work but it does open up a bit of risk and possibly some unnecessary expenditure. If your placing mulch on a flat dryland site then the mesh over the top is really not required.

If you need to put Jute Mesh over your mulch then you may want to re-consider the use of mulch altogether as mulch should not be put in a location that will see it washed or slipped away (eg; mulch should never be intentionally placed in a waterway).

So back to the point;

Jute Matting Pro’s

  • Excellent weed control
  • When installed correctly offers great erosion control

Jute Matting Con’s

  • Limited natural recruitment and not really best (due to limited sunlight penetration) for seeding or hydro-mulching operations

Jute Meshing Pro’s

  • Allows for natural recruitment of a site – free of charge
  • Allows for direct seeding and/or hydro-mulching to work
  • When installed correctly offers great erosion control

Jute Meshing Con’s

  • Offers low to no weed control (If weed control is an issue)

Scenario 1 - Waterway slopes or embankments where all water flows can be controlled until plants have established/germinated and colonised. Best options maybe;

  • Jute mat and tube stock planting
  • Jute mesh and seeding
  • Jute mesh only

Scenario 2 - Waterway slopes or embankments where low to moderate water flows can-not be controlled and are expected soon after construction. Best options maybe;

  • Jute mat and tube stock planting
  • Jute mesh only

Scenario 3 - Waterway slopes or embankments where high flow water flows can-not be controlled and are expected soon after construction. Best options maybe;

  • Neither product – rock check dams, rock chutes etc ate best in this instance

Scenario 4 - Dryland slopes or embankments where visual results are required immediately and a healthy budget exists. Best options maybe;

  • Jute mat and tube stock planting

Scenario 5 - Dryland slopes or embankments where visual results are NOT required immediately and budget is limited. Best options maybe;

  • Jute mesh and seeding
  • Jute mesh only

While there are of course lots of other things one can do to rehabilitate waterways and dry-land embankments the above is just a focus on the jute mesh and matting products and how they compare and contribute.

Published on behalf of Dean Chaloner - General Manager at Aust Care Environmental Services Pty Ltd