Pelleting Grass Seed Straw for Use as a Groundcover to Aid in Establishing Turfgrass

Period of Performance: 01/01/2002 - 12/31/2002

$296K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Pelletized Straw, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 866
Tekoa, WA 99033
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Objectives To determine the most effective mash recipe and optimal physical parameters for producing consistence, quality mulch pellets. In Phase I, we determined the general properties of a pellet that will make good mulch. The most critical operation is the actual milling of the mash into a pellet. It is a process involving pressure, heat and material consistency. The raw material that is pelletized is called a mash. The goal is to reduce straw volume by a factor of six to enable us to bagged, transported and spread the straw easily. Our challenge is producing densitized straw pellet that once hydrated contain long fibers to form a mulch matrix on the soil surface. To determine the most effective recipes for pellet ingredients of a dry applied mulch, a dry supplemented mulch and a hydro mulch. Each application shares one key objective, producing a mulch matrix on the soil surface with the maximum straw fiber content. However, each application has shuttle but significant differences that must be meet for the potential products to produce success. Dry applied mulch is limited by the equipment to spread the mulch. Our primary concerns are to produce a product that is flow able to prevent bridging in the spreader hoper. The dry supplemented mulch focus is a combination lawn repair mulch that will contain seed and fertilizer. Keeping the seed and fertilizer from segregating out of mulch prior to application will be a primary objective. The hydro mulch application must have pellets that hydrate quickly to prevent clogging or damage to the hydro-seeder pump and contain straw durable enough to be pump through the machine. To determine how to effectively use the mulch products for seed establishment and for soil erosion and sediment control. Seed establishment and erosion control are interrelated but yet very different. Our primary focus for seed establishment is to learn how well the straw mulch products will compensate for poor seed to soil contact and how well the mulch can aid in seed establishment under low moisture conditions. The erosion control work will evaluate the various mash combination for increase water infiltration and reduced soil runoff.