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Through my garden gate

Roger's pick – Erosion control for home-garden-ranch

Roger Boddaert


Do you have a slope or hillside on your property where rainwater is causing erosion or do you have a landscape drainage problem?

With the heavy rains and downpours of the past few weeks, erosion of soil and slopes, as well as property damage, has come to the attention of homeowners in a significant way.

Understanding the terrain and lay of the land, soils, and topography, and how it can affect you and your neighbor's property, is essential.

Water management is an art and science that must be handled appropriately. Each property is unique and has its own personality regarding how rainfall can be beneficial or create an erosion problem.

Consider rain harvesting and install rain barrels to catch the water runoff from your roof. It has been estimated that 22 trillion gallons of rainwater will fall to the earth with these current storms. Catchment basins can be carved on your property to capture the rain runoff and store it, if you have space. And make sure you turn off your automatic watering system.

The following are some erosion techniques to consider.

· Sandbags: This is commonly employed around the home and can be a quick fix, but if large amounts of mud start sliding from above, goodbye sandbags.

· Silt baffle fencing: The plastic sheeting is about 3 feet wide and staked at the toe of the slope to retain some amounts of mud and debris.

· Matt-jute netting is a landscape fabric pinned down to the soil with metal pins. This netting can be cut open in various spots to install plants with erosion control root systems.

· Straw tubing or wattles: It comes in rolls and looks like a curl of sausage filled with biodegradable straw. This must be staked down to hold it in place on slopes.

· Plastic sheeting: This technique can be a short and quick fix in certain situations. Use a minimum of 6 mil plastic which should be held in place 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 rain arrives. A mixture of seed and organic slurry is sprayed onto barren soils, and when the seeds germinate, the seedlings send down their roots and aid in holding the ground in place to some degree. Various seed mixtures are available for this process.

· Drainage pipe/culverts/catch basins: These are various catchment methods that can be installed to catch and divert the water under multiple conditions. It is more expensive but a long-range way to capture and disperse the runoff rainwater.

· Plant selection for erosion control: One must have the proper knowledge and understanding of how plants can aid in erosion control, but it is only one method, along with some of the other above techniques.

Roger Boddaert, landscape designer and horticultural consultant, can be reached at 760-728-4297.


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