Levi Reeves - March 22, 2023

Erosion Control Fabric: What it is and Why you Need it

Soil erosion is an inevitable process that takes place over time, but human activities such as deforestation, farming, and construction can accelerate it. This acceleration can lead to soil depletion at an alarming rate, affecting not only soil health but also the surrounding ecosystem and water quality. Fortunately, the use of this fabric is an effective solution for preventing soil erosion. This geotextile material stabilizes soil and prevents erosion by facilitating vegetation growth and regulating water flow.

In this article, we will explore this fabrics in detail, from its definition and benefits to its various types and installation methods. Additionally, we will discuss how to choose the appropriate erosion control fabric based on specific project requirements, and how to combine it with other erosion control methods for optimal results. By understanding the intricacies of this fabric and how it can benefit your project, you can help mitigate the effects of soil erosion and promote long-term sustainability.

Landscape Fabric Installation

Quick Summary

What is it?
Fabric used to control soil erosion; typically used on a slope.

Why use it
It can be helpful in protecting the topsoil and keeping a slope in better condition and minimizing runoff.

Where is it used?
Various slopes ranging from the side of a highway, a backyard, to a beach area.

What is Erosion Control Fabric?

Erosion control fabric, also referred to as geotextile fabric, is an important material engineered to stabilize soil and prevent erosion. Made from synthetic or natural materials, it is designed to resist water flow while still allowing water to penetrate through. By creating a barrier, the fabric helps prevent soil displacement, sedimentation, and protects slopes, embankments, and shorelines from the harmful effects of erosion. This material is commonly used in various applications such as construction, environmental restoration, and landscaping to promote vegetation growth and prevent erosion.

How Does it Work?

This fabric is a powerful tool in preventing soil erosion by providing a stable foundation for vegetation growth and controlling water flow. The fabric is typically made of a permeable material that allows water to pass through, while still creating a barrier between the soil and water. This reduces the velocity of the water flow and prevents it from carrying away soil particles.

Dropping Rocks on Geo Fabric

Rocks Placed on Landscape Fabric

The fabric also helps to distribute water evenly across the soil surface, reducing concentration and preventing erosion. In addition to controlling water flow, the fabric promotes vegetation growth by acting as a barrier to keep soil in place, allowing seeds to germinate and grow. As plants mature and establish their root systems, they help to anchor the soil in place, reducing erosion.

The fabric can also protect against other forms of erosion, such as wind erosion, by trapping soil particles. Geotextile fabric is an effective solution to prevent soil erosion, and its benefits extend beyond just controlling water flow.

Dropping Rocks on Geo Fabric

Installing Geotextile Fabric

Types of Erosion Control Fabric

There are several types of topsoil control fabrics available on the market, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits. Here are some of the most common types:

  • i. Woven Fabric: Is a tightly woven material made from polypropylene or other synthetic fibers. It is a durable and long-lasting option that is suitable for a wide range of erosion control applications, including slopes, channels, and shorelines. Woven fabric can range in price and the more technical (advanced) varieties are more expensive than other types of geo fabrics, but it offers superior performance and longevity.
  • ii. Non-Woven Fabric: Is a fabric that is a synthetic material made from polyester, polypropylene, or other fibers. It is less expensive than woven fabric and is suitable for a variety of erosion control applications, including slope stabilization, sediment control, and vegetation establishment. Non-woven fabric is typically more permeable than woven fabric and is a more effective option for many erosion control projects.
  • iii. Natural Fiber Fabric: Natural fiber fabric is made from biodegradable materials.such as coconut or jute fibers. It is an eco-friendly option that is suitable for projects where sustainability is a priority. Natural fiber fabric is typically less expensive than synthetic options, but it may not be as durable or long-lasting.
  • iv. High-performance Turf Reinforcement Mats (TRMs): TRMs are made of synthetic materials such as polypropylene, and they are designed to provide superior erosion control on steep slopes and high-velocity waterways. TRMs typically resemble a synthetic net-like product. TRMs are engineered to promote vegetation growth and to withstand extreme weather conditions. They are more expensive than other types of geotextile fabrics, but they offer superior performance and are ideal for challenging erosion control projects.

Benefits of Using Erosion Control Fabric

Here are some of the key benefits of using topsoil control fabric:

Prevents Soil Erosion

Geotextile fabric is an effective solution to prevent soil erosion caused by natural processes or human activities such as construction, farming, and deforestation. It acts as a barrier between soil and water or wind, which helps to stabilize the soil and prevent it from being washed or blown away. Geotextile fabric is especially crucial in areas where erosion is a common problem, such as slopes and shorelines.

Provides Stabilization

Geo fabric not only serves the purpose of preventing soil erosion but also provides stability to both soil and vegetation. The fabric helps to create a firm base for plants to grow on, which leads to the establishment of a strong and healthy root system. In doing so, the fabric also prevents the soil from becoming loose and unstable, which in turn helps to prevent erosion.

Slope with Erosion Issues

An Eroding Hillside

Heavy-Duty Erosion Control Fabric

Looking for a heavy duty, yet permeable non woven geotextile to control erosion? Weighing in at 8 oz / sq. yd. our professional-grade erosion control fabric is reinforced and can handle demanding loads and rugged applications while remaining permeable allowing for water to drain through. 

View Fabric
Draingage next to Slope

Slope Drainage

Easy to Install

Geotextile fabric installation can be a straightforward process. The fabric can be easily cut and shaped to fit the land's contours, and installation can be accomplished through various anchoring methods such as staples or other fasteners.


Geotextile fabric is built to withstand various weather conditions and remain durable for an extended period. Typically, geo fabrics are made from synthetic materials that are resistant to factors such as UV rays, moisture, and extreme environmental conditions. This means that the fabric can retain its effectiveness and strength even in challenging conditions for many years.

How to Choose the Right Fabric for Your Project

Selecting the appropriate type of fabric is a critical aspect of erosion control, as it can significantly affect the success of the project. Several factors must be considered when choosing the fabric, including the type of soil, slope, climate, and vegetation. In this section, we will explore the process of selecting the ideal fabric for your particular project, ensuring that your soil remains stable and your vegetation thrives.

1)  Soil Type and Slope

Choosing the appropriate fabric for your project involves considering various factors such as soil type and land slope. For instance, sandy or silty soil requires a tightly woven fabric that can prevent water or wind erosion. On the other hand, heavy clay soil needs a more permeable fabric that allows better water flow and prevents soil saturation. The slope of the land is also essential in choosing the right fabric. Steep slopes require a fabric that can provide extra stabilization and prevent soil movement due to gravity. Meanwhile, gentle slopes can use a fabric with smaller mesh sizes and lower profiles, which can provide sufficient erosion control without being visually intrusive.

Grass growth to stabilize topsoil

Grass Helping to Stabilize Soil

Sun Damaged Geo Fabric

UV Damaged Geotextile Fabric

2)  Climate and Weather Conditions

The climate and weather conditions in your area will have a significant impact on the type of fabric you should choose. If you live in an area with more rainfall or frequent storms, you will need a fabric that can bear heavy water flow and prevents soil loss due to erosion. A permeable fabric that allows water to pass through will be a perfect fit. On the other hand, if you live in a dry, windy area, you will need a fabric that is tightly woven to prevent soil loss due to wind.

3)  Water Flow and Volume

Selecting the appropriate fabric for your project requires considering the water volume and flow on the site, which can significantly impact the fabric's effectiveness. If the site has high water volume and flow, the fabric must be strong enough to withstand the water's force and prevent soil erosion. In such cases, choosing a heavier and more durable fabric is essential to ensure long-lasting protection against soil loss. On the other hand, for areas with low water volume and flow, a lighter fabric may be sufficient to provide effective erosion control.

4)  Vegetation and Root Systems

The decision of whether or not you are planning on planting vegetation on the slope will also impact your choice of erosion control methods. If you plan to grow vegetation on a large scale such as grass, you may want to choose a TRM which has larger openings to allow for root growth while still providing some soil retention properties.

5)  Project Goals and Budget

Your project goals and budget will also play a significant role in selecting the right fabric. If you are working on a large-scale project, you may need to choose a more heavy-duty fabric, which can be more expensive but will offer better protection. On the other hand, if you have a limited budget, you may need to prioritize lower-cost options that still offer adequate protection for your site. Additionally, your project goals will dictate which features you prioritize in your choice of fabric. For example, if your goal is to promote plant growth, you may choose a.fabric that allows for good water and air flow.

Erosion Fabric Use on Slope

Hillside Erosion Fabric

Prepping to Install Geo Fabric

Graded Sloped Area

Installation of Erosion Control Fabric

When it comes to installing geotextile control fabric, there are several crucial steps that must be taken to ensure its effectiveness. Proper installation is essential for preventing soil erosion and promoting long-term stability on your project site.

In this section, we will cover the key steps in installing erosion control fabric, including site preparation, fabric selection and layout, anchoring and securing the fabric, and backfilling and vegetation installation.

1)  Site Preparation

To ensure the proper installation of the fabric, site preparation is crucial. It's essential to start by clearing the area of any debris that could interfere with the fabric's installation or performance, such as rocks, branches, or other materials. After clearing the site, grading is necessary to ensure that the land is level and free from any bumps or uneven surfaces. This will help ensure the fabric lays flat and creates a secure barrier against erosion. Proper site preparation is key to the long-term success of the erosion control project.

2)  Fabric Selection and Layout

After selecting the appropriate fabric based on the factors discussed in the previous section, the next step is to plan the layout for your project site. You will need area measurement and calculate the amount of fabric needed. It's important to note that fabric pieces should overlap by a minimum of six inches to ensure complete coverage and prevent any gaps that could allow soil erosion to occur. Once the layout is planned, the fabric will be cut to size and shaped to fit the contours of the land, taking care to avoid any obstructions or irregularities that could compromise its effectiveness.

3)  Anchoring and Securing the Fabric

After laying out the geotextile fabric, the next crucial step is to anchor and secure it in place. The anchoring process entails placing stakes or other suitable anchoring devices at regular intervals along the edges of the fabric. However, it is essential to ensure that these anchors are driven deep enough into the soil to provide a firm grip without damaging any underlying structures or utilities. Careful consideration should be given to the type and placement of the anchoring devices to ensure that the fabric remains in place and performs its intended function of preventing erosion.

4)  Backfilling and Vegetation Installation

After anchoring the fabric in place, the next step is to backfill the area with soil and plant the desired vegetation. It is important to choose vegetation that is suitable for the specific soil type, slope, and climate conditions of the project site, and to plant it at the recommended depth and spacing. Once the vegetation is in place, applying a layer of mulch can help to protect the soil and promote healthy growth. Mulch can also help to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Retaining Wall Installation

Fabric Behind Retaining Wall

Installing Slope Protection Fabric

Geo Fabric Installation on Hillside

Maintenance and Lifespan of Erosion Control Fabric

Proper maintenance is essential for ensuring the long-term effectiveness of geotextile fabric. While erosion control fabric is designed to last for several years, its lifespan can be affected by a variety of factors. In this section, we will discuss the key factors that can affect the lifespan of your fabric and when you may need to replace it.

Factors that Affect Lifespan

Weather and climate: Geotextile fabric is designed to withstand a range of weather conditions, but exposure to extreme heat, cold, wind, and rain can gradually wear it down over time.

Soil type and slope: The composition of the soil and the slope of the site can also affect the lifespan of the fabric. Soil that is too acidic or too alkaline can damage the fabric, and steep slopes can increase the risk of erosion and wear.

Vegetation growth: Vegetation can help protect the fabric by anchoring it in place and providing additional stability. However, if the vegetation is allowed to grow too close to the fabric, it can cause damage and reduce its effectiveness.

When to Replace Erosion Control Fabric

Over time, the fabric may become damaged or worn, reducing its ability to prevent soil erosion and provide stability. Here are some signs that it may be time to replace your fabric:

Tears or holes: If you notice any tears or holes in the fabric, it may no longer be providing adequate protection and stability.

Excessive wear: If the fabric appears worn or frayed, it may be time to replace it.

Vegetation growth: If vegetation growth has caused damage to the fabric, it may need to be replaced to ensure its effectiveness.

Protecting a Slop from Runoff

Geo Fabric on Slope

Can Erosion Control Fabric be Used in Conjunction with other Erosion Control Methods?

The fabric can be used in combination with other erosion control methods to provide additional protection and stability for your project. Here are some common methods that can be used in conjunction with geotextile fabric:


Planting vegetation such as grass or shrubs can help anchor the fabric in place and provide additional protection against soil erosion.

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls can be used in conjunction with geo fabric to provide additional stabilization for steep slopes or areas with high water flow.


Mulching can help protect geo fabric by providing a layer of organic material that helps retain moisture and prevent soil erosion.

Stormwater Management Systems

Stormwater management systems such as retention ponds or bioswales can be used in conjunction with geo fabric to help manage and control water flow, reducing the risk of erosion.


This fabric is a highly effective solution for preventing soil erosion and providing stabilization for a wide range of projects. Its benefits include its ability to prevent soil erosion, provide stabilization, is easy to install, and having a long-lasting lifespan.

Choosing the right geotextile fabric for your project requires consideration of factors such as soil type and slope, climate and weather conditions, water flow and volume, vegetation and root systems, project goals and budget. Proper installation, maintenance, and use in conjunction with other erosion control methods such as vegetation, retaining walls, mulching, and stormwater management systems can further enhance its effectiveness and longevity.