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All About Turf Reinforcement Mats (TRMs)

Imagine this: you've just built your dream house, nestled on a beautiful hillside. But with those stunning views often comes a challenge - erosion. Heavy rain can quickly wash away precious topsoil, leaving your land looking barren and jeopardizing the stability of your property. Fear not, nature lover! There's a solution that's both effective and eco-friendly: Turf Reinforcement Mats (TRMs).



TRMs: Nature's Armor


TRMs are essentially thin blankets made from synthetic or natural fibers, designed to work in harmony with Mother Nature. They are laid on slopes and other vulnerable areas to create a protective layer that shields the soil from erosion while promoting vegetation growth.


How it Works: A Symbiotic Relationship


TRMs function in a two-pronged attack. Firstly, the mat itself acts as a barrier, absorbing the impact of raindrops and slowing down water flow. This prevents the water from gaining enough momentum to dislodge soil particles. Secondly, the open weave of the TRM allows seeds to be sown directly on the mat, or for existing vegetation to grow through it. As these plants mature, their root systems intertwine with the TRM fibers, creating a powerful, natural reinforcement system that further anchors the soil in place.


When to Call in the TRM Brigade?


TRMs are a versatile tool for a variety of situations. Here are some prime candidates for TRM reinforcement:

  • Steep Slopes: TRMs excel on inclines where gravity pulls soil down. The mat provides much-needed support, preventing landslides and soil washout.

  • Drainage Channels: Heavy rain runoff can quickly erode channels, creating unsightly gullies. TRMs can line these channels, slowing down water flow and promoting the growth of vegetation that stabilizes the banks.

  • Shorelines: Coastal areas are constantly bombarded by waves and tides. TRMs can shield shorelines from erosion, protecting property and natural habitats.

Built to Last: The Longevity of TRMs


TRMs are designed for long-term performance. The synthetic fibers used in their construction are typically UV-resistant and can withstand harsh weather conditions for many years. Additionally, as vegetation establishes itself, it further strengthens the TRM system, creating a durable and sustainable solution.

What's in a TRM?


The materials used in TRMs can vary depending on the manufacturer and application. Here's a breakdown of the most common components:

  • Synthetic Fibers: Polypropylene is a popular choice, known for its strength and durability.

  • Natural Fibers: Coconut fibers, jute, and straw can also be used, offering an eco-friendly option.

  • Biodegradable Components: Some TRMs incorporate components designed to break down over time, allowing vegetation to fully take over the reinforcement role.

Beyond Erosion Control: Additional Benefits of TRMs

TRMs offer several advantages over traditional erosion control methods like concrete or riprap:

  • Cost-effective: TRMs are generally less expensive to purchase and install than hard armor solutions.

  • Easy to Install: TRMs are lightweight and can be installed by hand, eliminating the need for heavy machinery.

  • Aesthetically Pleasing: Once vegetation takes hold, TRMs blend seamlessly into the landscape, creating a natural-looking solution.

  • Environmentally Friendly: TRMs promote plant growth and habitat creation, unlike hard armor solutions that can disrupt natural ecosystems.


What are the key difference between TRMs and traditional Erosion Control Blankets?


Focus and Longevity:

  • Erosion Control Blankets: These blankets, often made of straw or loose plastic mesh, are primarily focused on temporary erosion control. They slow down water flow and hold soil particles in place until vegetation establishes itself. However, these blankets typically degrade over time (especially straw) and lose their effectiveness.

  • TRMs (Turf Reinforcement Mats): TRMs take a more long-term approach to erosion control. Their focus is on creating a permanent reinforcement system. The strong, interlocking fibers of the TRM combined with vegetation growth create a durable structure that can withstand years of harsh weather conditions.


Here's a table summarizing the key differences:

Feature

Erosion Control Blanket

Turf Reinforcement Mat (TRM)

Primary Function

Temporary erosion control

Permanent erosion control and reinforcement

Material

Often straw, loose plastic mesh

Synthetic or natural fibers, sometimes with biodegradable components

Longevity

Degrades over time

Designed for long-term performance

Vegetation Growth

May inhibit initial growth due to loose structure

Promotes and reinforces vegetation growth

Installation Growth

Easier to install (may require staples)

May require additional anchoring mechanisms

Cost

Generally less expensive upfront

May have a higher initial cost, but often more cost-effective in the long run


Choosing the Right Solution:

  • For short-term needs like protecting newly seeded areas or mitigating minor erosion issues, a traditional erosion control blanket might be sufficient.

  • For long-term slope stabilization, channel protection, or areas with significant erosion concerns, a TRM is the better choice. Its superior strength, durability, and ability to promote permanent vegetation growth make it a more sustainable and cost-effective solution in the long-term.

Resources for the Eco-Conscious Landscaper

If you're interested in learning more about TRMs and how they can benefit your project, here are some helpful resources:

By working with a qualified landscape professional and choosing TRMs, you can achieve beautiful, functional, and sustainable landscapes that will stand the test of time. Remember, a healthy planet starts with healthy soil, and TRMs are a powerful tool in keeping our land vibrant and thriving.


BMP Supplies has launched it's full line of TRM's view HERE


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