Rice Straw, Compost & Bark Mulch

Rice straw, compost, and bark mulch are used to protect soil particles from erosion and improve soil health. Healthy soil encourages good soil structure and the establishment of vegetation which provides one of the best, long term defenses against erosion. These mulch products are applied either by hand or with equipment. Acacia offers Rice straw, organic compost and bark mulch installation or sale for individual use.

Rice Straw

Rice straw is a naturally sterile mulch that is typically applied as a protective cover over seeded areas to reduce soil erosion and aid in revegetation. Rice straw has long fibrous strands which create a biodegradable mesh and provides physical barriers to sheet flow of water in a rain event while holding seed and topsoil in place. Rice straw requires anchoring by hydromulch, netting or crimping to prevent blowing or washing away. This method is typically combined with Hydroseeding for long term protection against soil erosion.

Benefits of rice straw:

  • Increased protection on excavation and embankment slopes which have high potential for soil erosion
  • Can be applied through a straw-blower for efficient installation
  • Naturally sterile erosion control cover as opposed to wheat straw
  • Immediate protection from surface erosion due to raindrop impact
  • Helps retain soil moisture
  • Conforms closely to the soil surface
  • Can be applied with minimal disturbance to the soil
  • Vegetation provided by seed provides long-term control of erosion
  • Regulates soil temperature for improved seed germination


Compost can be used as an effective method for stabilization of steep slopes, improving soil quality and encouraging seed germination. Compost can contribute to soil texture and structure that resists erosion. It is a long-lasting method that can be applied with minimal soil disturbance and does not need to be removed. This amendment can be applied as a blanket treatment or in berms or swales to reduce sheet flow, filter soil particles from stormwater, and allow greater infiltration into the soil.

Compost as Erosion Control:

Reduces stormwater runoff volume and velocity by increasing infiltration rates and improving soil water holding capacity and enhancing soil structural properties (soil structure, porosity, and texture).  Compost has been shown to absorb up to the first .5 inches of rainfall.

Promotes long term vegetation establishment by improving plant rooting depth, soil chemical properties (providing proper pH, carbon, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus levels), enhancing soil biology and increasing soil nutrient levels and nutrient cycling. Good soil structure and healthy vegetative cover are important aspects of a landscape that is resistant to erosion.

Benefits of compost:

  • Improve soil water holding capacity
  • Adds nutrients and organic material to the soil
  • Encourages water and nutrient retention
  • Reduces need for water and fertilizers
  • Improves texture and reduces soil compaction over time
  • Encourages the growth of beneficial biota in the soil
  • Can be incorporated into the soil or used in combination with other erosion control methods
  • Promotes healthy vegetation, resistant to pests and disease
  • Protects the soil surface from splash erosion
  • Has natural bio‐filtration characteristics

Recommended Compost Applications for Erosion Control

Compost Blanket With Erosion Control Blankets: Very effective and aggressive erosion control material combination for large steep slopes. Best results when installing over compost berms.

Compost Blanket With Blown Straw: A reliable and cost-effective erosion control material combination that can be used in a variety of conditions.

Compost Blanket with Hydroseed and Netting: Hydroseed is applied under netting and over compost to protect seeds and provide good germinating conditions.

Incorporated Compost: Compost is incorporated into soil ripped 2 to 3 times the depth of compost applied. This method is cost effective on slopes 3:1 and flatter.

Compost Socks: Install at the toe of slopes in lieu of fiber rolls or silt fence.  Excellent at capturing sediment. Socks can also be installed in Vegetative Swales and Drainage Ditches as-as check dams.

*Acacia uses certified Organic Compost compliant with California Department of Transportation Specifications.


Mulch is a protective layer of material such as wood or bark chips, rice straw, grass clippings, or compost placed on the soil surface. Bare soils are vulnerable to wind and water erosion and will become dry and compacted over time. Mulch mimics natural processes by covering the soil with a protective layer of partially decomposed organic matter that provides numerous benefits to the health and structure of the soil. Mulches reduce evaporation, limit weed growth, limit soil erosion, and reduce temperature changes in soil. Organic mulches also improve the soil as organisms break them down and mix them into the soil.

Mulch and Soil Structure: The long term effects of proper mulch application will reduce compaction and increase soil water holding capacity, decreasing runoff and allowing more water to infiltrate into the soil.

Mulch and plant health: A 3-4 inch application of Mulch will suppress weeds and provide the conditions necessary for healthy plants that are resistant to pests and disease, and can usually be used as an effective organic alternative to pesticides. Mulch also helps with the retention of water and can help cut down on irrigation requirements. Over time, the organic matter in a layer of mulch will break down and contribute to a productive, living soil. A host beneficial organisms require organic matter as a food source and play an important role in improving soil structure and making nutrients available to plants.

Mulch and Erosion Control: Improved soil structure and reduced compaction encouraged by mulch treatments will also increase root depth, giving plants greater access to water and nutrients. Deep-rooted plants are one of the most effective and long-lasting forms of erosion control.  Mulch also protects the soil from corrosive forces of water by reducing soil particle displacement during rainfall.

Mulch can be applied any time but is encouraged in spring to retain moisture in the soil from winter and early spring rains.

Benefits of bark mulch:

  • Weed suppression
  • Helps retain water and nutrients
  • Reduces need for water and fertilizers
  • Adds a layer of protection to bare soil
  • Moderates soil temperature
  • Attractive landscaping element
  • Reduces soil compaction
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