Whether you’re trying to maintain the small patch of backyard at your private residence or you own and operate a 100-acre tree farm, you may find yourself dealing with the trials of soil erosion. This problem plagues property owners across the globe, and it occurs when inclement weather like strong winds, rainfall, runoff, flooding, ice melt, and other conditions move the top layer of sediment, including topsoil, gravel, and even larger rocks, depleting the soil of needed nutrients and peeling away the landscape, layer by layer.
Where do soil and rocks end up when they’re stripped away by wind and water? Perhaps in nearby waterways, which become congested. Other regions may develop dust bowl or desert conditions. In some cases, soil erosion is natural, but humans also contribute to the problem by stripping away natural protections like trees and other vegetation, or overgrazing land with livestock.
Soil erosion can have serious environmental consequences, not to mention rendering your land unattractive and unusable. However, there are several things you can do to prevent this unfortunate turn of events. In addition to understanding and avoiding the causes of soil erosion, here are a few ways to prevent it from ruining your property.
If you’re planning to remove vegetation for some reason, such as if you’re experiencing a tree blight and you need to remove deadwood; drought conditions have left you unable to water your lawn; or you’ve decided to leave fallow fields on your farm, just for example, one of the best things you can do to prevent soil erosion is cover the topsoil.
If you’re clear cutting trees on your property, you may be able to make your own mulch. Otherwise, you’ll have to purchase it. Mulch not only protects the topsoil from erosion, but covering your soil with shredded leaves and wood helps to prevent soil from turning acidic, and over time, returns nutrients to the soil so that it remains fertile.
Much like mulching, this process entails covering soil with organic materials. Matting could include a variety of biodegradable materials, such as mulch, straw, coconut fiber, and other wood fibers. In addition, matting is held in place with biodegradable netting and spikes that ensure it has plenty of time to break down and fertilize the soil. This practice is often used to renew the fertility and stability of farmland.
3. Ground Cover
If you want to protect topsoil from erosion, why not take a page from nature’s playbook? Planting vegetation is a great way to prevent erosion for a couple of reasons. First, any type of ground covering helps to lessen the impact of wind and water.
Additionally, grasses, trees, and other ground cover will develop a root system that weaves through the earth, stabilizing what would otherwise be loose soil and keeping it firmly in place. Because of the long-term efficiency of this method, it is one of the most popular means of preventing erosion.
Sloped expanses of land can be particularly difficult to attend to when it comes to preventing soil erosion because gravity is working against you. Even if you manage to plant vegetation or spread mulch, some of it might naturally roll downhill on its own, and it’s certainly more susceptible to the ravages of wind and water flow.
This is where terracing, or forming the slope into steps, can help. The steps will impede the flow of wind or water over the surface and act as a sort of catch basin for any loose soil moving downward. It works even better if you plant ground cover on the terraces, as well.
5. Retaining Walls
This method is particularly useful in any situation where ground isn’t level, as when you are working with a terraced area, for example, or even if there is a mild slope between your planting beds and your yard, or between your yard and your parking pad or driveway. Retaining walls will help to keep soil where it belongs when it is at a higher elevation than surrounding areas.
At Ron Meyer & Associate Excavating, Inc, we’ve been providing underground and commercial construction to private and commercial businesses for 39 years. As the general contractor or subcontractor, our experienced foremen, equipment operators, pipe layers, truck drivers and well-maintained equipment fleet make us an undeniable choice for your excavating services. Let’s talk about your project!