Burlap vs. Jute: Which is the Ultimate Erosion Control Fabric?


Erosion control is a critical environmental and agricultural practice, essential for preserving soil health, water quality, and landscape integrity. The choice of fabric for erosion control is pivotal, with burlap and jute being two of the most popular options. This article delves into the characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of both materials to determine the ultimate erosion control fabric.

burlap versus jute for erosion control
burlap versus jute for erosion control

Understanding Erosion Control

What is Erosion Control?

Erosion control involves various strategies and materials to prevent soil erosion caused by wind, water, and other natural forces. Effective erosion control is key to sustaining agriculture, protecting infrastructure, and preventing sedimentation in waterways.

The Role of Fabrics in Erosion Control

Fabrics play a significant role in erosion control by stabilizing soil, supporting plant growth, and filtering water. They are an eco-friendly solution, offering a blend of effectiveness and environmental sustainability.

The Contenders

Burlap Overview

Burlap, made from the jute plant, is a coarse, natural fabric known for its durability and biodegradability. It’s widely used in various applications, including erosion control, owing to its ability to support seed germination and soil stabilization.

Jute Overview

Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. Like burlap, it is environmentally friendly and effective in erosion control applications, promoting water absorption and seed growth.

Comparative Analysis


While both fabrics are durable, burlap tends to have a slightly coarser weave, which can offer better soil stabilization in certain environments. However, jute’s finer threads provide excellent protection against erosion for more delicate applications.


Both materials are highly biodegradable, minimizing environmental impact. Jute decomposes a bit faster than burlap, making it a slightly more eco-friendly option for short-term projects.

Cost Efficiency

Cost-wise, jute is often more affordable than burlap, making it a cost-effective solution for large-scale erosion control projects.

Erosion Control Effectiveness

Both fabrics effectively control erosion, but the choice between them depends on specific project needs. Burlap is preferable for harsh environments, while jute works well in areas requiring quicker biodegradation.

Ease of Use

Both materials are easy to install, but burlap’s sturdier nature makes it slightly more manageable during installation in rough terrains.

Case Studies

Real-world applications show both fabrics successfully preventing erosion in various settings, from riverbanks to construction sites, highlighting their adaptability and effectiveness.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Burlap

  • Excellent durability
  • Good for harsh environments
  • Supports seed germination

Pros of Jute

  • More cost-effective
  • Faster biodegradation
  • Suitable for delicate terrains

Cons of Burlap

  • More expensive
  • Slower biodegradation

Cons of Jute

  • Less durable in harsh conditions


Choosing between burlap and jute for erosion control depends on project-specific factors such as budget, environmental conditions, and the duration of needed protection. Both materials offer unique benefits, making them invaluable tools in environmental conservation efforts.


  1. Which fabric is more environmentally friendly? Both are highly eco-friendly, but jute’s faster decomposition rate might edge it slightly ahead.
  2. Can these fabrics be used together? Yes, combining burlap and jute can leverage the strengths of both materials for optimal erosion control.
  3. How long do these fabrics last? The lifespan varies by environmental conditions, but generally, burlap lasts 1-2 years, while jute can decompose within a few months to a year.
  4. Are they suitable for all climates? Both fabrics are versatile, but burlap is often better for extreme conditions, while jute is ideal for milder climates.
  5. Where can I purchase these materials? Burlap and jute can be purchased from agricultural supply stores, online retailers, and specialty fabric stores.