Home » Volume 16 / 2012 » Issue 4 »
Screening Study of Select Cotton-based Hydromulch Blends Produced using the Cross-Linked Biofiber Process
Bryan N. Scholl, Greg Holt, and Chris Thornton
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Research has shown that hydro-mulch containing specific blends of cotton, mixed with other agricultural by-products, is effective in providing protection from rainfall induced erosion of soil surfaces prior to establishment. To evaluate the potential of utilizing the Cross-Linked Biofiber Process to incorporate low value biomass byproducts into an effective hydro-mulch blend, a cooperative research program was conducted between the United States Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University. Following construction of a rainfall test facility, a series of hydro-mulch blends containing various biomass components were tested under controlled rainfall intensities. Biomass components included material derived from cotton, wheat, sudan hybrid (Haygrazer) and other agricultural residues. In addition, a popular commercially available hydro-mulch used on slopes of 3:1 or greater was used as a control. Analysis of the soil and organic content of runoff collected was conducted and blend constituents evaluated for their effectiveness in providing protection against rainfall induced soil erosion. Dunnett’s multiple range and Kruskal-Wallis statistical tests were used to evaluate results and eliminate treatments not significantly different from the control. Eight of the eleven treatments evaluated were significantly different from the control in at least one of the metrics - soil runoff, organic runoff, or total runoff. Three were not significantly different from the control in any of the three metrics. Two treatments were selected for further research and development.