Gain environmental credits by reducing your carbon emissions and water use on site

Gain environmental credits by reducing your carbon emissions and water use on site

On any revegetation project, machinery is required at some point to complete the job. EnviroStraw’s range of revegetation products and solutions are designed to significantly reduce both machinery hours and the amount of water used in the revegetation process.

It all comes down to our superior mix ratio. EnviroStraw’s Australian-designed and manufactured range of hydromulch products boasts a mix ratio that’s up to 50 per cent higher than other hydromulch products on the market. This increased mix ratio does two things: 

  • It reduces the machinery operating hours on site to minimise carbon emissions 
  • It reduces the volume of water required because the application contractor is able to spray more soil surface area with every tank.

Carbon emissions and water use can be reduced even further by adopting EnviroStraw’s advanced revegetation program, BioGrowth

How does this work? Put simply, the BioGrowth program is not as reliant on large amounts of soil conditioner. 

Unlike many other revegetation methods, BioGrowth does not require high volumes of soil conditioners like lime, gypsum, dolomite and compost. Instead, it uses the power of microbes – beneficial microorganisms that recondition soils faster, with less inputs. This in turn provides significant on-site reductions in CO2 emissions. 

Gain environmental credits by reducing your carbon emissions and water use on site

We worked on a 15 hectare project recently where conventional soil science would have specified five tonnes of lime, five tonnes of gypsum and five tonnes of dolomite per hectare. The BioGrowth program, in comparison, required less than one tonne of our Calcium Plus product and less than one tonne of our Carbon Plus product, applied in tandem via a hydromulch truck. 

Adopting the BioGrowth program significantly reduced the movement of machinery on site due to the fact that only a water truck, hydromulching truck and forklift were needed. In comparison, a traditional program would have required multiple deliveries of 150 tonnes of bulk materials. At least one long-haul truck, an excavator, a tip truck or two and a loader would have been required to manage these bulk materials. Then you have to factor in the time required to spread 150 tonnes of soil conditioner. This all adds up to a lot of machinery hours and associated CO2 emissions. 

Revegetating your roadworks, construction or mining site with the EnviroStraw BioGrowth program means you can load and spread the comparatively small amount of soil conditioner in less time using fewer machines.

 

Introducing BFM Complete: just add seed and spray!

New from the global leaders in microbial revegetation comes EnviroStraw BFM Complete – an all-in-one solution that truly raises the bar for Australian BFM hydromulch products, acting as a hydraulic growth media, bonded fibre matrix and biotic growth amendment. All you need to do is add seed and spray. 

Why BFM Complete is all you need

Composed of thermally processed, natural plant-derived fibre that includes 22 bacteria and fungi; CRF controlled-release, mineral-based fertiliser; bio-stimulants; probiotics and soil conditioners, BFM Complete is a native-plant friendly solution that meets Australian standards for soil conditioners.

BFM Complete incorporates bio-friendly polymers and organic water absorbers that bond with the soil surface to create a porous, absorbent and flexible mulch matrix that’s erosion-resistant and provides up to six months of outstanding soil surface protection.

A range of benefits

  • Improves soil health
  • Kickstarts rapid germination
  • Controls erosion for up to six months
  • Long term, self-sustaining solution
  • Made in Australia from Australian renewable resources
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Native plant-friendly
  • Uses significantly less water than standard hydromulch
  • Superior soil surface protection
  • Extremely cost competitive
  • Improves on-site efficiencies and compliance

Why it matters and what to do if your on-site soil is low in carbon

Carbon levels in soil

When it comes to a successful revegetation program, soil carbon levels are vitally important.

On-site soils with less than three percent carbon are typically low in nutrients, vulnerable to erosion and lack the ability to retain water. These conditions make it very challenging to establish grass cover, or any kind of plant life for that matter. 

Why? Broadly speaking, carbon is the lifeblood of our planet. It’s in almost everything in one form or another. Without stable soil carbon, plants struggle to grow and thrive. 

The difficulty with low-carbon soils

Any agronomist or revegetation expert will tell you that low-carbon soils can be very difficult to work with, particularly if they are sandy loam-type soils. This means they don’t have great soil structure to begin with and can be highly susceptible to erosion. Low-carbon soils can also be hydrophobic and high in sodium.

Righting the balance naturally

If you’ve had your on-site soil tested and received a low carbon reading, you have two options. You could import carbon-rich topsoil or a quality compost which can be hard to find as most compost is pasturised at best, which can work well but can also be prohibitively expensive if, for example, your site is in a remote area. 

Alternatively, you could use a purpose-designed growth media to restore carbon levels organically. Our signature EnviroMatrix product was formulated for highly problematic soils with low carbon levels. It contains everything you need to build soil carbon naturally and control erosion by addressing the biological, chemical and physical requirements for stabilising and restoring vegetation on disturbed soil sites.

For a fraction of the cost of importing topsoil, EnviroMatrix uses a stable organic material with accurately blended inputs to provide a consistent quality biotic growth amendment that quickly builds carbon levels, enhances water-holding capacity and provides long-term, slow-release insoluble, plant nutrition to nourish establishing vegetation and feed the developing soil microbiome.

Carbon levels in soil

When carbon levels are where they should be, soil health improves overall. Benefits include:

  • Increased water-holding capacity
  • Reduced erosion
  • Improved nutrient retention
  • Increased microbial activity
  • Better vegetation establishment
  • A long-term, self-sustaining outcome

Biotic Growth Amendments like EnviroMatrix provide a suite of microbes to build soil health fast and encourage deeper plant rooting. A range of polymers hold the applied biotic growth amendment in place for up to 12 months, meaning a watering program is not required. 

In addition to EnviroMatrix, our team of soil scientists has also found a way to enhance microbial activity in the soil using specially developed soil conditioners, biostimulants and probiotics applied at a significantly lower rate than other soil ameliorates such as gypsum and compost, for example. This provides an immediate boost to carbon and calcium levels in the soil, and we call this the BioGrowth Regenerative Revegetation program.

The soil test data below from the Maule Creek mine site clearly demonstrates the ability of our program to balance soil and build carbon levels for less than you’d pay for imported topsoil. You’ll notice how organic carbon levels increased, sodium levels decreased and calcium-to-magnesium ratios balanced out, all without importing high volumes of topsoil, gypsum or lime for example.

Carbon levels in soil

Our team can assess your site parameters and let you know if EnviroMatrix and the BioGrowth Regenerative Revegetation program are right for you. 

Activating microbes so they can work their soil magic

The secret to activating newly added microbes in the soil is simple. Just add water.

When your goal is self-sustaining revegetation, balancing the soil and introducing the right microbes is one thing. The next part is crucial. Activation through watering and establishing a biomass. Without water, nothing happens.

Microbes need water and food from nutrients, biostimulants and minerals – the same as plants. Even if there is only a limited amount of water available, the microbes will control almost everything. Cover crop seeds will start germinating in a startlingly short amount of time and a proper microbial system will develop, correcting imbalances in the soil.

The initial phase for a microbial system is building a biomass (renewable organic material) below the ground that can access more water and nutrients. This increased biomass also reduces the risk of erosion by binding the soil together. Once established, the above-ground biomass increases and provides increased carbon sugars to the microbes below = a beautiful symbiosis.

It’s this biomass that’s critical to a self-sustaining system, with the microbes quickly recycling the biomass above ground and below ground to build nutrient-rich carbon for the next cycle of growth.

Introducing the BioGrowth regenerative revegetation program

Designed by Australia’s leading soil scientists, EnviroStraw’s BioGrowth program is all about simplifying the process we’ve outlined over the past four blogs in our microbial series. It’s a fresher, more effective way to revegetate disturbed soils on mine sites and construction sites.

BioGrowth is a world first – a microbial carbon regenerative revegetation program purpose-designed for the revegetation industry using EnviroStraw products. It holistically builds on conventional rehabilitation practices by rejuvenating depleted soils, increasing beneficial microbial activity and increasing soil carbon.

To see BioGrowth in action, take a look at the tables below taken from very challenging soil on a mine site that was eroding and putting the railway asset at risk.

The BioGrowth approach was simple: repair the erosion and create a suitable seed bed by applying our EnviroMatrix biotic growth amendment (the one with a suite of 22 microbes).

No other soil conditioners or compost were used apart from the correct suite of microbes and the soil-building inputs in our EnviroMatrix product. Note that the carbon level increased, the pH level dropped and the calcium-magnesium ratio balanced in a relatively short period of time.

Choosing the right combination
of microbes

• Choosing the right combination of microbes

Now that you’ve prepared your soil to encourage microbial activity (see our previous blog), it’s time for your next mission: to introduce a suite of starter microbes that will help encourage plants to grow and self-sustain. 

What we’re aiming to do here is to replace and kick start the microbes that were depleted, lost or destroyed during digging and construction. Traditionally, a few agronomists in this situation would add endo and ecto mycorrhizae (a type of fungi that grows in tandem with the roots of a plant in a symbiotic relationship) to the soil and that is it. Mycorrhizae of course are one major key to improving soil health; the question is how you get them to successfully proliferate in these highly disturbed, unbalanced soils.

The answer is that highly disturbed soils really benefit most from a diverse range of beneficial microbes (not just one type), including nitrogen fixers and cellulose digesters (to name a few), as well as fungi like the mycorrhizae. EnviroStraw’s soil scientists and microbiologists have discovered the benefits of a community of beneficial bacteria, fungi and other microbes that exist in symbiosis with the root hairs and the rhizosphere of plants.

Our BioGrowth™ revegetation system helps initiate the development of healthy soil using our EnviroMatrix Biotic Growth Amendment – a delicate blend of essential fungi, bacteria and natural minerals that help mimic the natural soil food web. This suite of microbes helps create a healthy ‘rhizosphere’ around the plant root – and in turn helps condition the soil (eg by increasing microbial biomass carbon, nutrient availability and water holding capacity etc) and kick start the soil-root microbiome – which then includes native species of beneficial microbes from the local area.

EnviroStraw’s signature BioGrowth program uses a specific multi-strain suite of 22 different beneficial microbes that have been carefully selected for reinoculation of these highly disturbed and out of balance soils on mining and construction sites.

Some of the various strains included are:

Azotobacter
Free-living nitrogen fixers to convert atmospheric nitrogen in the soil.
Azospirillum
Produce plant growth hormones and biologically active substances.
Bacilli
Produce beneficial metabolites that are useful in plant resilience, including lactic acid bacteria to help with soil conditioning and structure.
Cellulolytic Fungi
Useful in the biodegradation, decomposition and recycling of cellulosic waste (eg stubble, dead roots etc) into stable organic carbon.
Mycorrhiza (VAM) Important biological components of soil life and soil chemistry. These help uptake insoluble nutrients and actively source phosphorus and other key minerals and harvest water.
Phosphorus
Solubilizing Bacteria
Converts insoluble phosphorus (eg Rock P) into plant-available “P”.
Pseudomonas Able to degrade a broad spectrum of compounds, acting as bio remediators.
Streptomyces Includes Actinobacteria. Helps improve soil health.
Saccharomyces Important yeasts that convert carbon dioxide into organic carbon and sugars within the soil.
Trichoderma Beneficial fungi that help to minimise wilting and dampening of seedlings. Now being successfully utilised on a commercial scale for potential improvement in soil health.

Once this suite of microbes is added and activated, beneficial microbes can start to flourish and recolonise disturbed soils – leading to resilient and long-lasting, self-sustaining revegetation.

How to encourage beneficial microbial activity in soil

As discussed in part one, earthworks can destroy soil health and the soil microbiome. This disturbance and de-vegetation process degrades soil quality and structure while depleting soil of carbon and other critical nutrients. 

In this age of risk mitigation and cost minimisation, we’re entering a new era of rehabilitation and revegetation involving regenerative and biological approaches. It’s a time to think small and do big things. Soil microbes can play critical roles in mediating plant productivity and increasing soil carbon. A teaspoon of healthy soil contains more soil microorganisms than there are people on the earth!

When your goal is to harness the power of beneficial microbes for revegetation, the first step is to condition your soil appropriately to enhance the microbes that are responsible for soil formation and restoration of nutrient cycling. 

If you can create a minerally balanced and fertile microbial breeding ground, self-sustaining plant life is sure to follow. 

Soil scientists at EnviroStraw have developed a regenerative approach they swear by, with successful outcomes that speak for themselves. 

1. SOIL TESTING

To start the process of improving soil health and encouraging beneficial microbial activity, we firstly take soil samples and comprehensively look at the total mineral and essential nutrient levels in the soil. We identify any possible constraints and pinpoint what may be driving these issues (such as low pH or elevated aluminium). 

Often we find that there is adequate calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen (for example) in the soil already. Happy days! 

The only trouble is that the nutrients may not currently be plant-available because everything’s been disturbed and the microbiome has largely been destroyed.

Another issue we often identify is that there is a total imbalance and/or depletion of other mineral nutrients (eg Ca vs Mg, K vs Na, low trace elements and carbon) that’s compounded by constraints such as nutrient lock-up due to elevated aluminium levels. 

Our team takes a different tack to your typical agronomist in:

  • not following the traditional route of simply applying water soluble (leachable) fertilisers
  • not adding excessive rates of lime and gypsum (purely to adjust soil pH)
  • not applying high rates of typical composted organic material, which has inherent associated problems such as weed seed issues, nitrogen drawdown and contaminants. Doing so can have the unfortunate effect of creating further nutrient deficiencies and imbalances such as nitrogen drawdown and depleted soil carbon, which can potentially lock up even more nutrients in the soil from any applied fertilisers.  

2. FERTILISER & AMENDMENTS

Once we’ve figured out what minerals the soil is lacking, we address these deficiencies and/or imbalances by: 

  • Applying a Controlled Release Fertiliser (CRF) that is bio-compatible and aimed at encouraging microbial activity – one that includes biostimulants, multiple macrominerals and trace elements. Any fertiliser used should be insoluble and bio-compatible so that it doesn’t volatilise into the atmosphere or leach into the environment, contaminating our precious waterways or damaging our beneficial microorganisms and depleting soil carbon.
  • We do apply judicious amounts of lime or dolomite – to address calcium and/or magnesium deficiencies – but not to adjust pH of the soil. Our beneficial microbes can help adjust the pH around them and condition the rhizosphere to suit themselves, and this ultimately can be beneficial to the plant root.

3. BENEFICIAL MICROBES

Our next step is to kick-start and replace the microbes that were depleted, lost or destroyed during the digging and disruption phases of construction: 

  • We do this by inoculating a specific multi-strain suite of beneficial microbes (bacteria and fungi). 
  • These in turn can help with risk mitigation by potentially increasing the levels of nutrient use efficiency, soil carbon and water-holding capacity, which ultimately mediates plant productivity
  • Recently there has been an emphasis on applying bulk organic material/compost to restore soils. This is an important strategy, however our focus is on enhancing the beneficial microbes responsible for soil formation and laying down significant amounts of sequestered carbon.

By encouraging beneficial microbial activity in soil and fostering an efficient and active soil microbiome, we can help increase soil carbon (the water sponge), improve nutrient cycling and nutrient uptake efficiency. This will in turn accelerate soil regeneration and self-sustaining revegetation.

The secret is to enhance the activity of beneficial microbes by applying a balanced amount of nutrients (in a non-leachable format), judicious soil amendments and a specially selected suite of efficient beneficial microbes. 

Beneficial microbes can access and cycle insoluble minerals and nutrients (either in the fertiliser or locked up in the soil) and feed them back to the plants. If we can replenish the microbes with the correct species and activate them in the soil, amazing things can happen fast. 

Why beneficial microbes are crucial to rebuilding disturbed soils

Once a mining site or infrastructure project is complete, re-establishing the vegetation on the desolate landscape left behind can be challenging to say the least.

We put this down to the fact that earthworks destroy soil health and the soil microbiome, and that this disturbance and de-vegetation process degrades soil quality and structure and depletes soil of carbon and other critical nutrients.

Our scientists have examined many post-mining and construction projects around Australia and some of the key constraints that they’ve found include: soil that is low in carbon, sodic (high in sodium) and highly dispersive, hydrophobic, minerally depleted and with poor biological diversity. These issues can impact negatively on plant productivity and self-sustainability.

We have been able to solve and overcome these pre-existing challenges by leveraging the synergy between plants and the soil microbiome. A major key to rebuilding and sustaining soil health when it’s been depleted and degraded by man-made processes comes down to tiny micro-organisms called beneficial microbes.

Beneficial Microbes have the power to help overcome these hurdles quickly by:

  • Building healthy carbon-rich soil
  • Increasing the soil’s capacity to retain water
  • Improving water filtration rates
  • Cycling and releasing locked-up nutrients in the soil (microbes can help these dormant nutrients become bioavailable to plant life)
  • Balancing pH and calcium-magnesium ratios; and
  • Ultimately improving soil health, soil structure and soil quality for sustainable plant growth.

How do you get these microbes to work their magic? It all starts with clever soil science that’s holistic in its approach. But let’s park that for a moment. Firstly, let’s discuss conventional revegetation methods that people have relied on in the past.

What people usually do (which doesn’t work so well on mining or infrastructure sites)

Typically, when someone wants to try to ‘fix’ dead soil and get things growing again, they’ll start by adding high rates of soil conditioners like gypsum and/or lime and soluble fertiliser. This is also generally what a conventional farmer would do.

Your typical agronomist has been trained to look at soil through a farmer’s lens with a view to growing agricultural crops or pasture for animals. The traditional approach is to chemically correct the soil so that plants can establish using multiple units of soluble fertiliser (and usually in the form of NPK) – but beneficial soil biology is generally never considered. This is how agronomists have been taught to solve the problem at university. There’s nothing wrong in principle with this approach when you’re trying to farm the land where the soil hasn’t been significantly disturbed, but that’s not what we’re trying to do here.

When revegetating Australian sites ravaged by mining or infrastructure, we’re dealing with highly disturbed, structurally-damaged, out-of-balance soils and we need to take a regenerative  approach. This is a very different soil type that needs special attention to establish vegetation. The idea is to plant a native grass species to provide a long-term, self-sustaining outcome.

The problem is that application of heavy rates of gypsum and lime when combined with dolomite and compost (at rates above 10+ ton of combined soil conditioners) can be very expensive and can be difficult to implement.

Take Gypsum for example which is commonly used to correct sodicity in sodic soils. If you don’t effectively flush it through the soil profile with large volumes of water, you generally don’t get the desired effect of breaking the sodium from the clay particle. By missing this critical step, you can create further challenges with nutrient lock-up and soil compaction.

Added to that is the small matter of compost. If your compost is not fully mature, you’re introducing unstable organic matter that still needs to break down further to become stable and useful. This creates a situation where you can burn more carbon initially, which in turn creates a nitrogen drawdown issue that’s extremely difficult to manage – and can be detrimental to plants.

Adding a soluble fertiliser to the mix means that a large percentage of it will potentially simply wash past the plant’s root system and leach into the environment. This creates a costly high-maintenance scenario where the fertiliser needs to be reapplied again and again – potentially resulting in a non-self-sustaining outcome.

Traditional wisdom says that when you apply soluble fertiliser, there are plenty of nutrients available (though usually only NPK) – and by default microbes are not needed. But what happens when these soluble nutrients bypass the root system altogether without being taken up and doing their job? Not only are these nutrients potentially wasted, but they can then become an environmental contamination issue. As a self-sustaining option, this is where incorporation of beneficial microbes in the system makes sense.

The power of beneficial microbes

These microbes have the ability to help balance soil quickly. Briefly, here’s how: beneficial  microbes are living organisms that survive by nutrient cycling and thrive by creating a symbiotic relationship between the plant and themselves – forming the plant-associated microbiome. The plant provides carbon sugars (carbohydrates derived via photosynthesis) to the microbes, and the microbes in turn supply nutrients back to the plant in return for those carbon sugars. This goes on and on in a dynamic and beautifully balanced partnership.

Without this symbiotic relationship, it’s very challenging to establish a long term, self-sustaining outcome that doesn’t require a constant and costly maintenance program involving the reapplication of fertiliser.

Stay tuned for the next instalment in our blog series about beneficial microbes where we explain how to encourage microbial activity in your soil.

Using imported topsoil? Buyer beware

On a roadworks project near Brisbane recently, tonnes of topsoil were imported in an effort to quickly establish vegetation on a low carbon, low-nutrient subsoil. It didn’t go exactly to plan. 

You can clearly see in the video below an area where vegetation started to grow but struggled to flourish and eventually died. Project managers wondered how this could happen when the same imported topsoil was used site-wide, along with the same hydromulch, seed blend and fertiliser.

Was it the hydromulch, something in the soil, or maybe even a pesticide? Had something toxic washed off from the road? It was anyone’s guess until extensive soil tests were conducted.

Not only did we perform a typical nutrient soil test on both the struggling and healthy site areas, we also tested for heavy metals that would point to a pesticide or other contaminant.

When the results came in

An in-depth study showed that the struggling area had multiple mineral imbalances (notably exchangeable sodium that was much too high; exchangeable potassium that was too low) and soil carbon levels that were unacceptably low – so low that it could not sustain good seed strike or establish crop cover.

We concluded that until excess salts were leached from the topsoil, vegetation would struggle. So how did everything get so out of whack? Where did all that sodium come from? That’s the million dollar question and the short answer is we can only presume it came from the imported topsoil, which was sourced from the same supplier as the better-quality topsoil medium.

To minimise the risk of this sort of thing happening, it’s very important to monitor and test any imported soil prior to application. The first reaction on site is nearly always to suspect the revegetation contractor of doing something wrong, which is of course possible, but we would go so far as to say that in 99% of cases something else is to blame. The imported topsoil certainly was in this case..

For a comprehensive topsoil quality assessment and treatment program, get in touch with the experts at EnviroStraw.

Webinar | Optimising revegetation of highly disturbed soils on mine sites and construction sites

EnviroStraw’s latest webinar on optimising revegetation of highly disturbed soils on mine sites and construction sites is now available online any time.

In this 20-minute session, leading soil scientist Paul Storer explains how even the most depleted soils can be effectively revegetated through innovative soil health management practices and enhanced microbial activity.

The presentation also highlights the environmental benefits of using soil microbiology and regenerative revegetation practices.

Our video gives viewers an understanding of how to:

  • Rebuild soil health for long term self-sustainability
  • Condition challenging soils correctly to support microbial activity
  • Inoculate soil with a specially selected suite of beneficial bacteria and fungi
  • Implement a hydraulic revegetation program including award-winning** Biotic Soil Amendments to trigger and sustain beneficial microbes.

 

Innovative EnviroBond polymer products setting new industry standards

EnviroStraw specialises in supplying high-quality, independently tested and outcome-focused products to the erosion control industry, and we’re delighted to introduce two new EnviroBond long-term storm-guard polymers for soil stabilisation and dust control.

 

EnviroBond Green

The same great product as the original EnviroBond, EnviroBond Green has the added benefit of long-term green colouring. EnviroBond Green provides exceptional soil stabilisation properties, with application rates starting at as low as 700 litres per hectare – making it a very economical alternative to other products on the market. EnviroBondGreen is available now in IBCs and 20-litre jugs. Find out more

EnviroBond Grow

Again, this is the same great product as the original EnviroBond, with our advanced, long-term environmentally friendly natural liquid fertiliser and the added benefit of macro and micro-nutrients. This product is optimised for seed germination including native species –  providing a long-term outcome and available now in both IBCs and 20-litre jugs. Find out more

EnviroBond Green application

Why should you use EnviroBond on your next project

  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Independently tested.
  • Lower cost, with reduced application rates.
  • Can be applied via water truck.
  • Guaranteed non-harmful to expensive pump seals.
  • Slows overland water-flow, therefore reducing erosion. 
  • Grass seed can be included for vegetation establishment.
  • Native seed friendly.
  • Suitable for all soil types.
  • Forms a 3D honeycomb matrix in the soil, providing increased soil-binding properties.
  • Includes UV stabilisers for increased longevity.
  • Includes flocculants for improved soil penetration.
  • Suitable for dust control in non-traffic areas.
  • Bio-friendly – won’t harm soil microbiology.
  • Improves water-holding capacity of the soil, for improved seed strike and vegetation establishment.
  • Contractors no longer have to buy a soil-stabilising polymer from their competition.

EnviroBond achieved outstanding C-Factor results under extreme tropical rain conditions

  • 125-135mm rain event  C-Factor 0.001
  • 135-145mm rain event  C- Factor 0.01
  • 145-200mm rain event  C-Factor  0.01

EnviroBond reduces and slows water-flow by allowing water to permeate through the polymer membrane into the soil – significantly slowing overland flow and providing increased erosion control.

Jar collection from lab testing demonstrating the reduced water catchment from reduced water runoff. Once the soil was fully hydrated, runoff increased.          

“I’ve never seen a polymer reduce overland flow-rates under rain simulation testing before” –  a lab technician, during independent testing.

 

To find out how our range of EnviroBond products can help your project, contact us today.

Envirostraw: the journey so far

Envirostraw-blog-journey-so-far

In less than a decade, EnviroStraw has grown from humble beginnings to become a market leader in Australia’s erosion control and revegetation industry.

Since the start, our focus has been on developing world-leading innovative products – harnessing Australian renewable resources that are easy-to-use and achieve the desired outcome on any project. Nine years on and EnviroStraw has brought huge innovation to the Australian revegetation and erosion control industry – developing unique products and winning three International Erosion Control Association awards for Innovation.

GeoSpray – a world-first, spray-on erosion control membrane – won the 2015 IECA Innovation award as a cost-effective, reliable way to control erosion for steep slopes, drains, and on any soil type, providing up to ten years’ protection of the treatment area.

Envirostraw-blog-journey-so-far

EnviroStraw Hydraulic Growth Media Hydromulch won the 2015 IECA Innovation award, as the first hydromulch manufactured in Australia from a thermally processed straw fibre with included soil conditioners. 

All-in-one bag product EnviroMatrix Erosion Control Matrix and Biotic Growth Amendment won the 2020 IECA award for Innovation – the first of this product-type to be manufactured in Australia using Australian renewable resources.

Regenerative revegetation program Biogrowth is a true revolution in the erosion control industry. Looking at soil from a microbial standpoint and balancing any soil type to enhance microbial activity, it delivers a self-sustaining and long-term outcome in the same way nature does. 

Envirostraw-blog-journey-so-far

As well as our product success, EnviroStraw now operates its own manufacturing facility that supports local communities in Yarrawonga, Victoria and is where we manufacture our straw-based range of hydromulch products. We also partner with a manufacturer in Gympie to  bag and manufacture our GeoSpray and range of erosion-control polymers – again, providing support to these small farming communities. 

EnviroStraw products have been used on mine sites, road projects and other construction sites across Australia – providing exceptional outcomes wherever they’re used. Happily for all our customers, EnviroStraw products have all been independently tested for efficacy – ensuring they perform to the highest standards across the board.

The difference between high and low-quality topsoil

Having premium topsoil available on site can significantly increase the speed and success rate of any revegetation project. The less fertile the topsoil, the longer it takes to develop to a level of self-sustainability and the more susceptible it is to erosion. 

When we talk about topsoil quality, typically we’re referring to soil fertility, texture, structure and overall production capability. Good-quality topsoil has high fertility levels with a well-balanced mineral composition and good carbon levels. It also has robust texture and structure with relatively low bulk density levels, plus strong resistance to soil erosion.

Low-quality topsoil, on the other hand, tends to slow down the site recovery process because it’s less fertile with nutrient and mineral imbalances. This type of soil, if not appropriately treated, can cause mineral deficiencies in new vegetation. It’s also these poorly textured soil classes that are prone to erosion and lead to poor root development and a greater risk of soil slippage and slumping.

Can topsoil quality be improved?

Certain topsoil characteristics (fertility is one example) can be brought up to scratch at a relatively low cost, while other chemical and physical properties (such as texture) can be more costly and complex to rectify.

Some may require treatment or high application rates of other organic amendments. All topsoil should be assessed appropriately before treatment to avoid introducing other challenges such as stratification, poor drainage or root development issues.

EnviroStraw’s BioGrowth™ Regenerative Revegetation program is designed to improve soil quality by adhering to our five BioGrowth™ principles. The principles are:

  • Environment: Appropriately assess all environmental factors prior to implementing soil amelioration, revegetation and erosion control principles and practices.
  • Design: Select plant species that are endemic to the area and suited to the soil type and climate zone of the project area. Ensure a diversity of plant species are selected for seasonal changes and self sustainability. Select the appropriate hydromulch media for slope angles and rainfall. Perform soil testing to ensure the soil can be correctly balanced to establish the selected plant species selected. 
  • Seedbed preparation: Perform best practise seedbed via pin wheeling, track rolling or horizontal ripping. 
  • Hydromulch application: Apply hydromulch to the correct specification via 2 passes to ensure all shadowing is eliminated.
  • Watering: Activate the most effective, self-sustainable rainfed irrigation system based on site specifications. Implement supplementary irrigation where needed, especially on highly sensitive and degraded soils.

If you’re looking for high-quality and proven revegetation solutions that are Australian-made by an Australian owned company, then get in touch with the experts at EnviroStraw.