Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Great Aid for Planting Seeds on Slopes

Since so many of us in Tennessee seem to have homes on slopes, I thought it might be helpful to post a blog on a product called “jute matting erosion control cloth” (or sometimes “geo-jute”). We have been eliminating lawn on some pretty steep slopes and then re-seeding with native flowers and grasses.  We needed something to help hold the new seed in place.   After killing off the lawn and all spouting weeds during one whole growing season, we seed over the area in early December and then immediately put down the geo-jute over the whole surface.  We have used this product several times, and it makes a world of difference.  It is especially good for doing large areas.

It is a very open mesh, made out of burlap, and comes in 4 foot wide rolls that are 225 feet long (and weigh about 75 lbs. each!). It is very easy to apply.  Simply cut the strips to the length you need, roll them up, start at the top of the hill, and just let the cut section unroll itself right down the hill. Even though it has a very open mesh, that technique works fine. Then we take some galvanized fencing with 2″x 4″ openings, cut the 2″x 4″ sections into  pieces open at one end (much cheaper than buying those expensive fabric pins at the garden center), and use them as pins to hold the geo-jute in place; it doesn’t take many.

It decays into the soil after about 12-18 months so you never have to remove it or have it ball up like those awful nylon meshes that never decay. In the meantime, it not only keeps the seed from flowing downhill in a rain storm but provides a little matting to help hold moisture in the soil while the seeds are germinating.

It does need to make contact with the ground in order to work so it would not be good for spreading out over an area with a lot of plant material still present.

You won’t find it at your local gardening store. We live in NE Tennessee and our closest Tennessee-based supplier is Great Western Bag Company in McMinnville, TN. They will ship to you. If you live in another part of Tennessee and use a different supplier, be sure to post a comment and let us know where you buy it.

2 responses to “Great Aid for Planting Seeds on Slopes

  1. Andrea Pappas September 6, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    I have been trying to figure out how to solve the planting on a steep slope problem I have. THANK you so much for this.

  2. joystewart September 26, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    I am glad the information is helpful. I will only add one more bit of info. When you measure the length of fabric that you need to go down the hill, always add a little extra to your measurement before you cut. We discovered that when you cut the length of the strip of geojute to the exact measured distance down the slope, you always end up short at the bottom. Don’t know why but you will waste some of the roll if you don’t take this into account.

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