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Green news from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
by Charles A Raguse
on November 5, 2015 at 9:07 AM
While "...loosened soil and ash can move quickly under proper storm conditions..." and "Seeding is generally ineffective...", spreading loose straw can be effective given favorable weather conditions, which is a big "if" of course.  
Experience at the UC Sierra Foothill Research & Extension Center has shown that spreading straw on level or gradually-sloping surfaces can be surprisingly effective, given that early rainfall is adequate to ensure germination of seeds contained in the straw and temperatures are such as to ensure root growth.  
The result is a green mat of growing vegetation that is "knitted" to the vulnerable soil surface.  
The above results were demonstrated on freshly-cut road beds (and included accompanying ditches and ditch-bank side cuts). I have photos of these results and would be happy to share them with folks who are interested.  
An alternative (albeit prohibitively expensive for most agricultural situations) is hydro mulching. Burgess L. Kay did extensive work at the UC SFREC with this technique, and the results were impressive.
by Gregory A Giusti
on November 5, 2015 at 9:44 AM
Charles, thanks for your note. I agree with your note on hydro-mulching. To date, in Lake County, that activity has been limited to utilities who can afford the effort. It's an option beyond the scope of many small landowners who have lost everything.
by Bob Eisele
on December 5, 2015 at 7:51 AM
While hydro mulching can be beneficial, it is expensive. Equally good results can be obtained by blowing rice straw on burned lands and securing it with a tackier. See Walter Graves, UC Cooperative Extension adviser emeritus, reports.
by Charles A Raguse
on December 12, 2015 at 8:00 AM
Simply "blowing" straw on dry ground doesn't do it. Rain water only runs under it, with the potential for further erosion.  
Securing it with a "tackier" seems to make this process akin to hydro mulching. Walt Graves (or Bob Eisele) needs to explain what a tackier is, and how this process differs from hydro mulching.
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