Coir Explained

What is coir?

Coir is a sustainable waste material produced from the husk of a coconut shell and is 100% natural.


It’s the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut.  It can be made into many things, including mats, brushes, rugs, ropes and liners for hanging baskets.

Coir fibres are found between the hard internal shells and the outer coat of a coconut.  The individual fibre cells are narrow and hollow, with thick walls made of cellulose.  They are pale when immature and become hardened and yellowed as a layer of lignin (the organic substance binding the cells, fibres and vessels which constitute wood and the lignified elements of plants) is deposited on their walls.

We make great use of this material in our coir rolls as they provide immediate soft edge erosion control to riverbanks, streams, canals, lake edges and ponds.   The rolls can be planted with native flora and fauna to help establish wildlife habitats and improve site biodiversity.
Coir rolls are an organic living revetment which provide rapid vegetation establishment and erosion control.  They help the environment because they’re a softer and effective method of erosion control or a way to establish instant habitat.
Coir rolls are biodegradable and consist of tightly packed fibre

Why use coir?

Everything about our coir rolls is good for the environment and will attract wildlife such as butterflies, dragonflies and water voles into the area.

Butterflies and bees adore Lythrum salicaria in our pre-planted coir rolls

Coir rolls and mattresses can be the ideal technique for establishing marginal vegetation around lake edges, streams and rivers banks; they are cost effective and a suitable alternative to hard revetments.   They are simple to place, easy to use and even introduce to an existing system.   Coconut coir logs or coir rolls have been used for rebuilding ventures, adjustment regions and development work and have a life expectancy of about 2 – 5 years after which the root structure is incorporated into the bank which results in stabilisation.

Floating islands at Millwall Dock, London

We often use pre-planted coir rolls in our projects for mitigation purposes such as the rapid establishment of water vole habitat.

Coir maintains excellent air porosity even when saturated and gives better crops with faster developing roots and more flowers per plant when used correctly.

Coir has excellent water retention qualities – better than peat and other growing media.   This has obvious advantages in dry climates or at times when plants can’t be watered frequently such as in transit to market.

Coir absorbs moisture immediately, even from a dry state, thus plants growing in coir tend to recover better and more quickly from dry conditions.

Coir rolls are ideal for fast germination due to the inherent qualities and optimum water / air availability with help with quick rooting and propagation.

Because coir originates above ground it does not contain any soil diseases.   In fact, several studies have indicated that coir substrate brings increased resistance root diseases.

What can coir rolls be used for?

Coir rolls provide bank protection for use where land meets water – riverbanks, streams, channels and lake edges.

Freshly installed, pre-planted coir rolls along a riverbank

They are used as a softer and effective method of erosion control or to establish instant habitat.

We offer two types of coir rolls.  

First there are the pre-planted coir rolls that arrive ready to go with planted with UK provenance species, grown under natural conditions and free from herbicides and artificial fertilizers.   If you want particular plants to be included in your coir roll – just contact us.

Pre-planted coir rolls growing at our Surrey nursery

The second type is an unplanted coir roll – these come without plants but adding your own is easy.

A fresh delivery of coir rolls arriving at our nursery

We have over 25 years’ experience of working on environmental, engineering projects for council, local authorities, land owners and contractors.

To see more details, please visit our coir rolls page.

We’d love to help or share our knowledge, so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or get in touch with us through our contact page.

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