Installation Guide – Cow Carpet Trail Crossing

Cow Carpet Trail Crossing Installation

According to the Pennsylvania Small Scale Livestock Committee: “Mud creates an unhealthy environment for both horses and livestock.” Mud is a pervasive and expensive problem facing beef and dairy producers as well as horse farms. US 180NW Cow Carpet® is the solution.

Compromised soil conditions in high-traffic livestock gathering areas cause problems for animals, producers and the environment. Grazing cattle congregate in concentrated areas damaging soil, an effect which is exacerbated by farm vehicle and equipment traffic. During periods of wet weather, soil in these areas turns to mud, creating an unhealthy environment for livestock, unsafe traction for farm equipment and the potential for poor surface water quality. Even after the areas dry, they could lead to rough and possibly dangerous footing for the animals.

US 180NW Cow Carpet® will keep your cover material from disappearing into the subgrade and prevent the mud below from intermixing with your cover material. In addition, US 180NW Cow Carpet® will improve the footing and hoof health of your horses and cows. US 180NW Cow Carpet® meets the Natural Resources Conservation Service Class 1 Nonwoven Geotextile Fabric Specification.

1.0 General

  1. This guideline covers general installation of Cow Carpet in trail crossings.
  2. Where contradictions occur follow the instructions of the project engineer.

2.0 Dewater & Excavate

Dewater and excavate the bed of the channel to the necessary depth and width.

3.0 Place Geotextile

  1. Roll the Cow Carpet out flat in the roll direction, minimizing folds and creases.
    • Pins or staples are typically not required to hold the fabric in place.
      • If needed, 6 inch sod staples work well.
  2. Start on the surface of one bank and extend it across the bottom of the stream and up the opposite bank.
  3. Extend fabric past the expected high water mark of the banks.
  4. If overlapping is required, use a minimum of 3 foot overlap.
  5. Cow Carpet can be easily cut with a quality utility knife.
  6. You can also cut the entire roll with a Sawzall equipped with a metal cutting blade.
    • Start your cut until you get through the top of the core and then roll the product forward to finish the cut.

4.0 Place Gravel

  1. Place and compact the gravel.
    • 8 to12 inches is typically sufficient depending on the finished grade.
    • For very weak subgrades, thicker lifts may be required.
  2. The preferred placement method is to dump the stone onto the Cow Carpet and then push it further out onto the fabric.
  3. Try to keep the finished grade of the crossing as close as possible to the natural stream bed bottom.
  4. Dump trucks and rubber tired loaders can be driven directly on the Cow Carpet if needed.
    • Avoid quick stops, starts and turns.
    • Keep speeds less than 10 mph.
  5. The gravel should be spread in the same direction as overlaps to avoid separation between the pieces.

5.0 Type of Stone

  1. The preferred aggregate is crushed and angular and should be large enough so it cannot be washed away by the stream.
    • Limestone is a good option, but other stone will work fine.
    • If the crossing is for livestock, use an appropriate surfacing material over the rock to protect the animal’s hooves.
      • Some names for this type of stone are dense grade aggregate (DGA) or crusher run.

6.0 Repair & Maintenance

Any damage to the Cow Carpet should be repaired using a second piece with a minimum 3 foot overlap in all directions.

7.0 NRCS Class I

Cow Carpet meets most Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Class 1 Nonwoven Geotextile Fabric Specifications for stream crossings.

8.0 Storage

  1. Cow Carpet rolls are wrapped in a UV protective cover.
  2. If stored outdoors for a prolonged period, elevate the overlay geotextile from the ground and cover with a tarpaulin or opaque plastic.
    • Contractor must insure rolls are adequately protected from:
      • Moisture
      • Ultraviolet radiation
      • Chemicals that are strong acids or bases
      • Temperatures in excess of 140ºF
      • Animal destruction


This material is presented for general information only.  Always verify the suitability for a specific application with the project engineer.  Where contradictions occur, follow the instructions of the project engineer. There is no implied or expressed warranty regarding the installation procedures or the geosynthetic products in this guide. Installation procedure and product choice is the sole responsibility of the contractor and contractor assumes all liability.


Cost Effective Use Of Woven Geotextile Separation


US Fabrics was approached by a contractor regarding the construction of a 2,800 foot long temporary construction entrance through existing farmland. The entrance would eventually be paved and become a permanent entrance for the college. The original specification called for HP370, a costly high strength woven geotextile.


Due to the cost of the HP370 geotextile, the contractor called US Fabrics looking for a less-expensive option. US Fabrics’ representative Dan Bonn agreed that US 200 woven geotextile would work well given the site conditions, type of rock to be used and expected traffic conditions. US 200 meets the AASHTO M228-06 Class 3 specification for Separation and Stabilization and is US Fabrics’ most popular product for these types of applications. Since the material savings would be nearly $1.00 per foot, the contractor submitted US 200 for approval.


US 200 was accepted by the project engineer and installed. The contractor was very pleased with the installation process and two years later the entrance looks like the day it was installed, as the photo below demonstrates.


US Fabrics takes pride in making sure our contractors are using the right product for their project. As we have discussed in our “Guide to Better Geotextile Specifying” and on this blog, geotextile specifications are not always correct or optimal. We try to understand the application as well as the specification. If we believe there is a more cost-effective option or the specified product is incorrect for the application, we will offer an alternative to the specified product. If the specification is in error, we will do our best to offer a product that meets the intent of the specification or the requirements of the application.

  • Cost-effective solutions
  • Knowledgeable representatives
  • Proper spec interpretation
  • Correct product for the application
  • AASHTO grade products