Effective Methods to Reduce Soil Erosion

If you’ve got a steep slope on your backyard or a big windswept lawn, erosion can be a problem. Displacement of soil from bare areas in your lawn by wind erosion, or the washing off of garden bed soil in a rainstorm, leave behind unsightly patches and gullies in your lawn. You can halt the loss of topsoil by a variety of methods such as planting lawn covers or erecting natural constructions. Which you choose is based upon the steepness of the slope.

Plant Grass

Whether you’ve erosion happening on a gently rolling hill or a steep incline, putting grass secures soil in place. For a slope using a 3:1 incline or smaller, mix fast-germinating yearly rye (Lolium multiflorum) grass in using perennial grass seed. Rye will hold soil in place while ongoing grass is establishing. Adding a 1- to 2-inch layer of straw keeps seed in place during germination, also. For steeper slopes, utilize a flammable grass seed germination blanket which comprises seed and fertilizer and may be anchored in place. Water it with a low-flow irrigation system to minimize sediment under the blanket. In a few days, seeds will sprout and take root. Contact a professional to do the installation if you’re uncomfortable climbing on areas with unsure footing.

Plants and Matting

Plant wildflowers, groundcovers or shrubs on almost any slope to reduce erosion from rainfall. Roots from plants hold soil in place, but on steep slopes they can wash away before getting established. One way of preventing this is to utilize matting made from grape or wood fibers. Put out the mat on your desired area and cut to match. Plant seedlings throughout the matting and water using a low-volume drip irrigation system to prevent washing dirt and wool downhill. After the plants are established, the roots will hold soil in place along with the branches from shrubs will shelter soil from runoff. The mat will decompose.

Plant Windbreaks

When wind is sweeping round your lawn and blowing the soil away, plant trees along the edge of your house to block the wind. Installing a line of trees at a right angle to the prevailing wind slows windspeed and keeps soil in place. For hilly areas, plant a windbreak uphill of the crest of the slope, not to the crest, for best protection from wind erosion. When choosing trees for a windbreak, remember that the taller the tree, the more protection it provides. The divisions should be dense enough to block wind when the tree reaches its adult height.

Mulch and much more Mulch

When rain in the downpour strikes bare dirt on your own vegetable garden and flower beds, then it also washes nutrients from the ground downhill even on the smallest slope. This leaves your crops undernourished. If you use pesticides, they get washed into rivers and storm drains where they can damage fish and other aquatic wildlife. It is possible to soften the impact of rain, and store nutrients in place, by putting a 2-inch layer of mulch between vegetable rows and around flower beds. Shredded mulches tend to remain in place better than nuggets, which float far more easily.

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