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How to Grow Cranberries - Erosion Control Guidelines

Erosion Control for Cranberry Bed Development [in Maine]
Prepared by Maine DEP in 1996 in Cooperation with the Cranberry Technical Workgroup


Any time that you disturb large areas of land, there is a high risk of erosion.  Erosion of soil material may cause serious harm to water bodies and aquatic life.  Sediment can smother small plants, insects, and fish eggs.  Sediment can also damage gills, and alter water chemistry causing fish kills.  The loss of a substantial amount of soil materials results in higher project costs, and additional labor in repairs and reconstruction.  Proper planning for your project is critical.

The Cranberry Technical Workgroup encourages you to seek professional assistance during the planning and construction stages of your project.  This guide was prepared in cooperation with the workgroup and is intended to be used as general guidance for small cranberry developments.  Although the general principles apply to larger projects, additional professional help may be required to insure that proper erosion controls are implemented.

If you are using United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding, you may be subject to stricter Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) standards and specifications for erosion control.  Please contact the nearest USDA office for their standards and specifications.

The Department of Environmental Protection would like to thank the members of the Cranberry Technical Workgroup for their assistance in the preparation of this guide.  The workgroup consisted of the following members:


For erosion control, pre-construction planning may be the most critical step.  Please read this section and consider all suggestions before beginning your project.

Timing the work properly can prevent many erosion problems.  The cost of the project and the difficulties in controlling sediment loss escalate if the timing is not appropriate.  This can not be stressed enough.  Plan to have all resources, including funding, available for an appropriate start date.  Some suggestions to consider include:

For more guidance on timing for cranberry bed development, see the “Cranberry Production Timetable

S U M M A R Y   T A B L E:

Table developed from the Cranberry Technical Work Group meeting, July 15, 1996

Clay soils Develop guidance specific to clay soils and cranberry development
Fill (versus native soil) Compact fill properly;
Bed anti-seep collars in native soil if possible
Roads on berms

with wheel ruts

Crown roadways with parent material
Compaction Compact dike properly using NRCS specifications (options available)
Outlet failure Develop installation procedure:

  • use anti-seep collar
  • seal collar to culvert
  • bed in native soil if possible
  • compact fill around culvert
  • use bentonite
Slope stability – Design berms with >1′ freeboard
– Compact fill properly
– Vegetate/mulch slope
– Anchor mulch
Pipe sizing Develop sizing chart for growers
Seeding practices Develop seeding practices:

  • options for seed mixes
  • options for anchoring: 1) chopped hay,  2) jute mat, 3) hydroseed,  4) cyclgro
  • seed bed enhancement
  • Develop material suppliers list
Construction sequencing Develop recommended sequence; Construct during dry season

Take a look at what you get with the complete Erosion Control Guide [To order the COMPLETE Erosion Control Guide, contact the Maine DEP]:

Table of Contents:

CONSTRUCTION: Sediment Barriers || Topsoil Stockpiles || Construction of a Hay Bale Barrier (USDA / NRCS) || Stone Check Dam (Virginia SWCC) || Compost Filter Berm || Dike Construction: 1)  Materials, 2)  Foundation Preparation, 3)  Placement, 4)  Moisture Content, 5)  Compaction || Pipe Installation: 1)  Culvert Sizing, 2)  Outlet Installation Procedures: Dikes and Roadways || Cranberry Pond Outlet #1 || Cranberry Pond Outlet #2

Slope Stabilization: 1)  Seed and Mulch, 2)  Compost, 3)  Cost Comparisons

Late Fall Construction:
Outlet Protection || Detail of Culvert Outlet Protection (full flow non-pressure) || Open Type Level Spreader (USDA / NRCS)

To order the COMPLETE Erosion Control Guide, contact the Maine DEP

Erosion Control Guidelines: First Posted Online: 11/14/1997

Cranberry questions? Contact Charles Armstrong, Cranberry Professional. University of Maine Cooperative Extension || Pest Management Unit || 17 Godfrey Drive || Orono, ME 04473-3692 || Tel: 207.581.2967 [email:]

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Contact Information

Cooperative Extension: Cranberries
5741 Libby Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5741
Phone: 207.581.3188 or 1.800.287.0274 (in Maine)E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469