Gardening is a common challenge, and the difficulties can throw people off too soon.
Often the gardener isn’t even the issue, the landscape is. Some gardens have geographical limitations to what you can do, which can frustrate those who don’t know how to prevent erosion, particularly on slopes.
Trying to establish and maintain a luscious, thriving garden on a slope can be near impossible without the right knowledge and understanding of erosion.
What to consider before you start erosion control
As the wind blows and the rain falls, the soil is displaced from one position to another. On steep slopes and embankments, water erosion is more prominent and dangerous.
The primary concern with water erosion on steep slopes can be identified as
“Rain that falls onto the exposed ground dislodges soil particles which are then carried away down the hill by the flowing water. However, it is the resulting destabilisation of slope that creates an even greater danger as rocks and trees roots become exposed.”
Erosion can be devastating to discover, especially after investing in expensive landscaping renovations.
That’s why it is crucial to identify it and take proper measures to ensure it won’t reoccur.
Some of the top proven methods of retaining a firm, immovable soil include
- Planting various flora species
- Landscaping with terraces
- Using sandbags
- Adding retaining walls, pipes, and coir and jute matting
Although erosion may be universal, each slope is different. This means each erosion solution requires to have a unique, specified approach.
Slopes differ in various ways, mainly shade cover or sun exposure, angle and rain or wetness.
The best ground cover to plant in shaded areas is the one with deep roots. The long roots grow down into the soil and stabilise the ground.
Trees also have excellent stabilisation properties and provide shade from the canopy, preventing excess water from evaporating from the earth.
For slopes with a pitch angle greater than 30º building, a terrace is highly recommended as ground cover and foliage may not be a reliable permanent erosion control solution.
Erosion control strategies to implement whilst your plants establish themselves.
When planting trees and shrubs on bare sloping ground, there is an establishment period where the risk of soil erosion is high. Generally, it takes 2-3 years for shrubs and trees to develop an extensive root system to help bind the soil together.
In the meantime, you can reduce erosion risk by using these different strategies:
Jute matting is a natural and sustainable product that comes in roles 1.8metres wide by 25 long.
Roll the material down the slope and cut using scissors at the base area and repeat the process until the region is covered. Using metal pins secure the matting to the ground.
Jute matting is slotted, allowing for planting through the material. The jute will absorb the rain and reduce surface water runoff, decreasing erosion.
After approximately 2-3 years, jute matting will biodegrade, after which the shrubs and trees have established themselves and are binding the soil together.
Coir matting is another natural and biodegradable product that protects the soil whilst the flora gets established.
Installed in the same manner as jute matting, coir matting is an open weave that assists in the trapping of native seed. This helps in slowing down surface water and enables natural germination.
Coir matting may be used in a more natural bush setting where the objective is to retain topsoil whilst the native vegetation naturally establishes itself.
Alternative erosion control methods
If your slope is too intense or you are still looking for more landscaping solutions perfect for your unique situation, try building a terrace.
Creating a terrace at the same level as plants can help control damage and aid struggling trees and shrubs to prevent erosion.
Also, consider water diversions to assist with drainage using landscaping products such as sandbags and pipes.
With water control, you can divert excess water to drier areas and maintain a healthy water level for your slope and plants on the hillside.