The Lorain Soil & Water Conservation District provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve the natural resources and environment in Lorain County.


Agricultural Center
42110 Russia Road
Elyria, OH 44035-6813
Phone: 440.326.5800
FAX: 440.326.5807


Mulching is an essential element in erosion control. It prevents rain droplets from detaching soil particles from exposed areas as well as retains the necessary moisture needed for the germination and growth of seeded areas of a disturbed soil site. Once wet or packed under snow, straw mulch also locks itself into the soil thus stabilizing the surface layer and preventing soil detachment from initiating.

[Photo: Using strawblower to place straw
mulch during winter ]

Straw is the most common and most cost effective mulch and is highly recommended for all sites. In areas that have steep grades or are prone to high winds and/or concentrated surface water flows, stapled fiber matting and meshes should be used, as they are less prone to blow or wash away. Wood chips are another cost effective alternative which when used in conjunction with a silt fence can be very effective. Wood chips are often readily available on most construction sites.

Sublots: Mulching the temporary seeding of a sublot shall extend the length of curb at a minimum width of 30-feet from the curb. Mulching shall remain on site from the time the initial clearing is done on the site to the completion of the landscaping by the homeowner. Note: 1 straw bale per 10 feet of curb is the minimum amount of mulching for a single lot to adequately cover the 30-foot wide temporary seeding area. Example: 100′ of lot frontage, a minimum of 10 bales is required.

ODNR Rainwater and Land Development Manual Specifications:

  • Applications of temporary seeding shall include mulch immediately after seeding.
  • Straw shall be unrotted and small grained. Should be applied at a rate of 2 tons/acre or 90 lb./1,000 sq. ft.
  • Sublot seeding – Straw shall be applied at a minimum rate of 1 bale per every 10 feet of curb, at a width of 30 feet of the entire length of the lot.
  • Straw mulch shall be anchored immediately to minimize loss by wind or water. Anchoring methods include crimping, netting, matting, or synthetic binders or tackifiers. See product recommendations and specifications for complete details.
  • Hydro-seeders – If wood cellulose fiber is used, it shall be used at 2,000 lb./acre or 46 lb./1,000 sq. ft. All hydro-seeding shall be covered with above specified straw mulch rates.
  • Wood chips applied to 6 dry tons per acre may also be used. A minimum thickness of 4 inches of chips must be applied to an area 30 feet from the curb. Additionally, a silt fence must be installed on the perimeter of the sublot to prevent wood chips from washing off site.

Download a PDF version of this bulletin #08-001B Mulching.


August 16, 2017