With the recent heavy rains of the past few weeks, soil erosion has come to the attention of homeowners in a major way.
It is important to understand the terrain and lay of your land and how it can affect both you and your neighbor’s property.
The fires of 2007 burned vast amounts of acreage in our area and destroyed native vegetation that resulted in hillsides prone to erosion. The hills where the plants burned completely to the ground, or the groves of trees that lost their canopies and were stumped back, played a significant role in rainfall dispersal before the fires.
Hydrology or water management is an art and science to understand, and must be dealt with properly. Each property is unique and has its own personality as to how rainfall can be either beneficial or create an erosion problem.
The following are some erosion techniques to consider
-Sand bags: These are commonly placed around the home and can be a quick fix, but if large amounts of mud start sliding from above, good-bye sand bags.
-Silt baffle fencing: The plastic sheeting is about 3-feet wide and is staked at the toe of slopes to retain some amounts of mud and debris.
-Matt-jute netting: Referred to as landscape fabric and pinned down to the soil with metal pins. This netting can be cut open in various spots to install plants.
-Straw tubing or wattles: It comes in rolls and looks like a curl of sausage that is filled with biodegradable straw. This must be staked down to hold it in place.
-Plastic sheeting: This technique can be a quick fix in certain situations. Use a minimum thickness of 6 ml. Plastic that should be secured with sandbags along the margins to keep the winds from lifting it up.
-Hydro-seeding: This can be a longer range fix and should be employed before the rains arrive. A mixture of seed and organic slurry are sprayed onto barren soils and when the seed germinates, the seedlings send down their roots and aid in holding the soil to some degree. Various seed mixtures are available.
-Drainage pipe/culverts/catch basins: These are various catchment ways that can be installed to catch and divert the water in various conditions. It is more expensive but a long range way to disperse run off water.
-Plant selection for erosion control: One must have the proper knowledge and understanding on how plants can aid in erosion control, but it is a method, along with others, that can help in erosion control.
If you would like more information, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
Maker of Natural Gardens, P.O.Box 1806, Fallbrook, Calif., 92088.
Roger Boddaert is a landscape designer and horticultural consultant at (760)728-4297.