Erosion control plants can be a great asset to any landscaping project. Proper installation and maintenance of erosion control plants can help protect your land.
This guide will provide information on the different types of erosion control plants and the causes of soil erosion.
What is an Erosion Control Plant?
An erosion control plant (ECP) is a type of landscaping plant that helps to control the flow of water and soil on a property. ECPs are typically used in areas with a lot of rainfall or mudflow, such as hillsides and river banks and are also used in urban areas, where runoff from roofs and streets can cause flooding.
ECPs are essential for many reasons: they help keep properties clean, reduce the amount of erosion that occurs, and improve the overall environmental quality of an area.
There are many different types of ECPs, but they all share some standard features. Most have roots that go deep into the soil to help hold it together but also have wide blades that can move a lot of soil, and they often have built-in devices that help them trap sediment before it runs off.
The Causes of Soil Erosion
Deforestation as a cause of soil erosion has been studied extensively. In general, deforestation is the removal of trees or forest cover in an area, which leads to a decrease in the amount of protective soil present.
Deforestation can occur naturally through processes such as natural regeneration, fire, or human activity such as logging.
Alternatively, deforestation may be induced by factors such as land clearance for agriculture and urbanisation, oil spills and mining operations. The result of any form of deforestation is an increase in the surface area exposed to wind and rain, which can lead to increased erosion.
There are many reasons why deforestation can contribute to soil erosion. For example, when trees are removed from an area, they leave behind grasses and other plant life that can quickly decompose. This leaves behind a bare soil surface easily washed away by the elements.
The Commercial Agriculture
Soil erosion is a problem affecting the world’s agricultural land, costing more than $25 billion annually in damages. Much of this damage is caused by commercial agriculture, which uses large amounts of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides that run off into waterways and destroy fragile soil ecosystems.
The most significant cause of soil erosion is the buildup of soil sediments, which are composed primarily of sand and clay particles. These sediments are easily moved by water, wind or human footsteps, and they can carry away large amounts of topsoil and other plant nutrients.
Over time, this degradation can lead to decreased crop production and a loss of valuable soil resources. To minimise the impact of soil erosion on their farms, commercial farmers need to adopt strategies that address both the cause and the effect.
The Excessive Grazing
Excessive grazing is a leading cause of soil erosion. Grazing animals eat and break down the plants and soil, leaving behind a mess on the ground, and this process can be very destructive to the environment and lead to erosion. There are many reasons why grazing is a cause of soil erosion.
For one, grazers often leave trails behind them that quickly consume all the grasses in an area. This leaves little room for new vegetation to grow, which further weakens the soil.
Additionally, grazers often defecate near or on top of water sources, which contaminates them and causes them to become unfit for use. All of these factors work together to create an environment ripe for erosion.
What are the Best Plants for Erosion Control?
1. Big blue lilyturf
The big blue lilyturf is an excellent plant for soil erosion control. Its benefits include
- First, the big blue lilyturf is highly tolerant of salt and clay soils. This means that it can be used in areas where other plants would not survive.
- Second, the big blue lilyturf produces a lot of flowers. This means that it can help to pollinate other plants nearby, which will, in turn, help to improve the growth of those plants.
- Third, the big blue lilyturf is fast-growing. This means that it can quickly fill in any gaps in the soil that are caused by erosion.
- Fourth, the big blue lilyturf roots deeply into the ground.
2. Rockspray cotoneaster
Rockspray cotoneaster is a popular garden plant due to its showy pink and white flowers. This shrub is also known for its ability to control erosion. In addition to its ornamental value, rockspray cotoneaster can provide many benefits when used as an erosion control plant.
Rockspray cotoneaster can help slow down the accumulation of soil on slopes and in gullies. The shrub’s dense foliage and thorny branches can thicken soil, providing resistance to wind and water erosion. The shrub’s flowers also attract bees, which help spread pollen and helps pollinate other plants.
3. Japanese spurge
The Japanese spurge is a plant that can be used to help control soil erosion. This plant has many benefits and advantages over other plants that can be used for this purpose.
- The Japanese spurge is fast growing, so it can quickly cover an area in which soil erosion is occurring.
- Second, the leaves of the Japanese spurge are very thin and sharp, which makes them easy to shred.
- Third, the Japanese spurge can tolerate a wide range of soils and climates, making it a good choice for areas where soil erosion is a problem.
- Fourth, a flower of the Japanese spurge is attractive to bees and other insects, which helps pollinate nearby plants.
- Fifth, the leaves of the Japanese spurge contain a high level of antioxidants, which helps improve soil quality.
4. Creeping juniper
Creeping juniper is a shrub that can grow to 6 feet tall and spread up to 3 feet wide. It has soft, needle-like leaves and produces small, white flowers in late spring. Creeping juniper grows best in moist, well-drained soil, making it an excellent choice for soil erosion control.
Junipers are characterised by their strong roots and ability to regenerate after being cut down or burned. This makes them excellent plants for stabilising unstable soils and preventing soil erosion.
Junipers also have high levels of antioxidants, which help protect the soil from damage caused by free radicals. These benefits make creeping juniper an excellent choice for soil erosion control on both large and small scales.
5. Mondo grass
Mondo grass, a high-quality and drought-tolerant turfgrass, can be an excellent choice for soil erosion control. The following are some benefits of using mondo grass as a soil erosion control agent:
- Mondo grass is a high-quality turfgrass that can consistently perform in hot and cold climates.
- Mondo grass is resistant to diseases and pests, making it an ideal option for areas with high foot traffic or heavy rainfalls.
- Mondo grass can be easily maintained with little to no maintenance required, making it an efficient choice for areas with limited resources.
- Mondo grass has a deep root system that helps anchor the soil, and prevent soil erosion over time.
There are lots of benefits if you have plants that control erosion. Here are the takeaways!
- The features of the plants for soil erosion control are that they are drought tolerant, pest resistant, and can help to improve the texture and fertility of the soil.
- They are also easy to grow and require minimal care, which makes them a good option for people who want to take on a gardening project without spending a lot of time on it.
- They also add beauty and interest to gardens, making them a popular choice among homeowners.
- Deforestation, commercial agriculture, and excessive grazing are the common causes of soil erosion.
- Big blue lilyturf can be used in particular places due to its feature of being highly tolerant in salt and clay soils.
Is there a type of root that prevent erosion the best?
Drought-tolerant plants with extensive fibrous roots are the most effective erosion control plants, along with plants with spreading foliage that allows heavy rainfall to be absorbed more slowly.
What is the best way to stabilise soil on a slope?
The slope geometry can be changed or regraded, support structures can be added to reinforce the slope, or drainage can be used to control groundwater in the slope material.
Are rocks helpful to prevent erosion?
If your vegetation is well-established and your soil nutrient levels are high, using rocks as erosion control on slopes works best. The better choice is erosion control blankets if your soil needs to be re-fertilized.