The Slippery Slope & How to Control Erosion
Want to Know How to Control Erosion?
Soil erosion occurs when water washes away the topsoil in a particular area. This often occurs in areas undergoing major construction, but home landscapes can also be damaged by erosion. When dealing with slopes, signs of erosion are fairly obvious – mudslides and gullies. Signs to look for in flatter environments include:
- Signs of soil splashing or mud on pavement
- Exposed roots
- The “runoff” path left by water and soil as it flows down the street.
- Dead or dying plants
Erosion is a serious problem, even for those not dealing with slopes and hillsides. The danger in those situations is clear – and terrifying. However, there are issues with erosion in flatter landscapes, too, such as run-off into our water supply.
In addition to environmental dangers, erosion can have a significant financial impact, too. Caused by rainfall in some areas and excess irrigation in others, erosion takes away the nutrient-rich topsoil. This layer is full of organic matter and helpful microorganisms that are necessary for plant growth. On the “not-so-bad” end of the spectrum, the resulting dead or dying plants just don’t look good. However, on the “uh-oh” end of the spectrum, this costs huge amounts of money as landscapes are destroyed and farmers lose crops.
All is not lost, though! There are steps you can take to control erosion, even on slopes! Read on for some great ideas.
Erosion Control Products
There are mats and blankets, both bio-degradable and non-degradable, which cover the slopes thus preventing erosion. They’re typically made of fiber, such as coconut, wood or straw, that is knit together and they have a lifespan of about six to twelve months. Placing these erosion control products, available at Hydro-Scape, in key areas brings erosion problems under control and prevents damage. You can reinforce these methods by planting seeds on and around the products before they begin to degrade. The seeds are protected by the netting and once the plants grow, they take over some of the erosion control themselves.
Your landscape is another fine, eco-friendly, tool for erosion control, all while adding beauty to your surroundings. Plant on the slopes in your landscape! Groundcovers, shrubs and trees all work together to establish a strong, deep root system which helps hold the soil in place. They also make great barriers to water flow. Mulch any spaces between what you plant using bark or wood chips, or use ornamental boulders. The water will hit the plants, mulch and stone rather than simply running off. Mix it up a bit with some shallower-rooted plants to add even more soil stability. Take care to choose plants that are right for your location and climate.
You can also use “hardscaping” methods, such as retaining walls and dry creeks, to prevent erosion and beautify eroded areas at the same time. Retaining walls can be made of logs, brick, even fieldstone and boulders. Dry creeks are an especially creative project. They capture and redirect runoff, preventing erosion damage and they look gorgeous as the meander through your landscape. Permits may be required in some areas; check with the local building authorities.
While erosion is a serious problem, it’s not the end of the line for your landscape. Using some of these ideas, you can prevent erosion and enhance the natural beauty of your landscape at the same time!