Burlap vs. Synthetic: Which Erosion Control Netting Wins? The Ultimate Guide


Erosion control is a critical aspect of environmental management, ensuring that soil remains in place, waterways stay clear of sediments, and landscapes retain their beauty and functionality. Among the various strategies employed, erosion control netting plays a pivotal role. This article dives deep into the comparison between burlap and synthetic netting, two commonly used materials, to determine which one truly wins in the battle against erosion.

burlap erosion control netting
burlap erosion control netting

Understanding Erosion Control

Erosion control is the practice of preventing soil erosion caused by water, wind, or other natural forces. It is vital for protecting landscapes, maintaining soil health, and preserving water quality.

The Basics of Erosion Control Netting

What is Erosion Control Netting?

Erosion control netting is a fabric laid over soil or vegetation to protect against erosion. It helps stabilize areas, promotes vegetation growth, and absorbs the energy of falling rain.

The Role of Netting in Erosion Control

Netting serves as a physical barrier, reducing soil displacement and encouraging the establishment of plant life, which further anchors the soil.

Burlap Erosion Control Netting

Features of Burlap Netting

Burlap, made from natural jute fibers, is biodegradable and offers a sustainable option for erosion control. Its porous nature allows for water and air penetration, promoting healthy soil conditions.

Advantages of Burlap for Erosion Control

Burlap is environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and provides a natural solution that supports seed germination and vegetation growth.

Limitations of Burlap Netting

While burlap is effective for short-term applications, its biodegradability means it may not be suitable for long-term erosion control in harsh environments.

Synthetic Erosion Control Netting

Features of Synthetic Netting

Synthetic netting, made from materials like polypropylene, offers strength and durability. It’s designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions and provide long-term erosion control.

Advantages of Synthetic Netting for Erosion Control

Its durability and resistance to degradation make synthetic netting ideal for severe erosion issues and areas requiring long-term stabilization.

Limitations of Synthetic Netting

The environmental impact of synthetic netting, including its non-biodegradability and potential pollution, is a significant concern.

Comparing Burlap and Synthetic Netting

Durability Comparison

Synthetic netting generally offers greater durability than burlap, but this comes with environmental trade-offs.

Environmental Impact

Burlap’s biodegradability makes it a more environmentally friendly option, whereas synthetic netting’s longevity can contribute to plastic pollution.

Cost Analysis

Burlap is often more cost-effective for short-term projects, while synthetic netting, though initially more expensive, may offer cost savings over time due to its durability.

Application Scenarios

The choice between burlap and synthetic depends on project specifics, including duration, environmental conditions, and budget.

The Environmental Perspective

Biodegradability and Sustainability

Burlap scores high in sustainability due to its natural, biodegradable fibers, aligning with green project goals.

Long-Term Environmental Impact

Synthetic netting’s durability is a double-edged sword, offering long-term erosion control at the expense of long-term environmental health.

Making the Right Choice

Factors to Consider

Choosing between burlap and synthetic netting requires balancing factors like project duration, environmental impact, and budget.

Recommendations for Different Scenarios

For short-term, environmentally sensitive projects, burlap is ideal. Synthetic netting suits long-term, high-erosion areas where durability is paramount.

Burlap vs. Synthetic: The Verdict

In the contest between burlap and synthetic erosion control netting, there is no one-size-fits-all winner. The best choice depends on the specific needs and goals of your project, balancing effectiveness, environmental impact, and cost.


Choosing the right erosion control netting—burlap or synthetic—depends on a multitude of factors, including the project’s scale, duration, environmental considerations, and budget. By weighing the advantages and limitations of each, project managers can make an informed decision that not only meets their immediate needs but also aligns with long-term sustainability goals.