Planting to Stop Erosion
Typically erosion is caused by water, wind or gravity. Your first instinct may be to plant grass on that slope or hillside that is eroding. Do you really want to create an area where it is dangerous to mow? While grass is an effective way to stop erosion on easily mowed areas, don’t create more work for yourself. It is so very important to plan out your gardens. Save yourself a lot of work and expense by doing a little research first. Keeping in mind the key to stopping erosion is to have some type of root system in the soil to keep the existing soil in place.
The first thing you must consider when planting is a simple yet often overlooked question. What type of plant will grow in your area? There are some beautiful plants and trees I would love to have growing in my landscape, but if the winters are too harsh for the plant, why plant it? This article may also be helpful Tips on buying plants.
Second question, Is it invasive? Remember when they freely planted Kudzu, they had good intentions, look at the current results. Trying to help curb the effects of Katrina, In an article Needle brush Harvested To Stop Erosion In Jackson County dated April 10, 2006, states that volunteers are helping to stop erosion in Southern Mississippi by harvesting native juncus plants.
Lets continue with our Pre – Planting List:
Will your plantings be an eye pleasing addition to your landscape? Consider several varying ideas on how to plant, what to plant and where to plant to help stop erosion in your area. The first place you may choose to start for example; simple erosion control on a hilly area, a hillside or slope. There are so many variables to consider before grabbing a shovel or a tiller and beginning to dig. Remember we are discussing simple hillside or sloping areas, not a cliff or dangerous incline.
Questions to consider before planting:
Have you considered a Raised Garden Bed or is the area too hilly?
What type of soil is already there?
sandy?, clay?, fine?
Could Your Garden pass a PH soil test?
Do you need to amend the soil?
You may consider making your own Leaf Mold
How hilly is the area or how steep is your slope?
Would you consider it a sloping garden or a steep hillside?
How does the water run?
Is it torrential or does it flow gently downward?
What about terracing the area?
Last but not least-
What type of sunlight does this area receive?
Once you answer these basic questions about the area you are working with, you should then begin to plan your Environmentally Friendly Garden to help stop Erosion. Is it possible to safely add natural rocks and small boulders to the area? Keep in mind that steeper hillsides do better when planted with a good mix of plants, ornamental grasses, groundcovers and vines. Be sure and check in a USDA zone map to see if the plants you have chosen will grow in your area. Keep it as Native as possible and your garden area will thrive and end up not looking like a ‘planted’ garden but as though it was designed by Nature. There are many Flowering Shrubs that may be beneficial. Check with your local extension or agricultural office for additional ideas. One last reminder, be sure and make sure these plants are not on the invasive species list for your state. Remember the vine that ate the South!
Here are a few planting ideas and suggestions for an erosion prevention and control garden:
Baccharis L. (perennials and shrubs in the Asteraceae family )
California Lilac Shrubs
Blue Jeans – Ceanothus
Creeping Mountain Lilac – Ceanothus
California Monkey flowers
Dwarf Coyote Bush
Fremontia aka Flannel Bush
Quercus or Live Oak species
Zauschneria (Epilobium canum) – Willowherb
These are just a few ideas, be creative, Plan ahead and you CAN control erosion in your backyard.
© 2008 oOdles of infOrmation