Preparing Now for “Mud Time”

With fall ticking down to its astronomical end and winter ready to make its official debut, now may be a wonderful time to prepare for spring—or at least one aspect of spring. New England Poet Robert Frost wrote that April in Vermont could be, “May one moment and March the next.” He affectionately referred to this period of constant freeze and thaw as “Mud Time.” Frost could just have easily been talking about the climate here in Ohio. Mud loves nothing more than the chance to have frost fluff it into pudding on walk ways and travel lanes throughout your property, but you needn’t bow to the mud monster to scrape your shoes each time you walk in and out the door.  

Many area folks—especially those involved in the raising of livestock—have already learned that a great way to beat mud is to prepare heavily used areas ahead of “mud time.”  In an overly simplistic explanation, heavy use area protection begins with a layer of geotextile fabric and ends with stone on top. The fabric provides a stable substrate for the stone, one that will allow for ground movement during freeze and thaw cycles, but won’t allow mud to make its way into the rock above. Conversely, it allows the rock to remain at the surface where it can provide a clean, slip-free travel area that drains well and weathers the cold without a hitch.  

What many folks don’t realize is that this same practice can be very easily applied to walkways all around your property, for instance the path out to the dog pen or the trail to the wood pile or outdoor furnace.  A simple layer of geotextile followed by a few inches of stone can make your travels mud free. Stop in sometime at the HSWCD office and we can talk you through the project. We can even supply you with geotextile fabric in a number of different widths at a surprisingly low cost. You’ll be pleased with your efforts come mud time! 

Holmes Soil and Water Conservation District stocks rolls of geotextile in three widths priced by the linear foot: 7.5’-$1.00, 12.5’-$1.50 and 15’-$1.75. Stop in the office at 62 W. Clinton St., Millersburg or call 330-674-2811 for more information.

John Lorson came to Holmes SWCD after having left a career in higher education quite literally for greener pastures. He holds a BS in Biology from The University of Akron where he later worked for ten years, most recently as coordinator of the Wayne College Holmes campus. John also spent 15 years as an engineering technician with the city of Orrville and still serves in his hometown as a city council representative. Local residents may recognize John from his weekly humor column in The Daily Record and Shopper News—a collaboration with his wife, Kristin that is now in its 20th year. He is thrilled to be working as a technician in the field of conservation—a great crossroad of his education and experience. Reach John with your conservation concerns at 330-674-2811 or email