Monday, December 7, 2009

Erosion Control

So, some of us put it off until this late, and our hillsides and roads are starting to show the first rivulets and ravines of the winter rain season. But it is not too late for erosion control! You don’t need to construct stone terraces or use expensive hydro-seeding or hydraulic-mulching to control erosion; in fact with a little bit of ingenuity and know-how, erosion control is dirt cheap.

The two simplest ways to curb erosion are mulching and seeding. A simple straw mulch, held in place with jute netting is nearly 100% effective in stopping erosion, and you can easily put down seed prior to the mulch for a more long-term solution. Straw mulches work even better when smashed into the soil with a flat head shovel, creating pockets to catch accumulated runoff and silt. The punched in areas should run at a slight diagonal to the hillside for the best results.

We carry a number of erosion control blends for roads, hillsides and tilled pastures. Uniquely blended for Mendocino’s climate and landscape, these grass blends are simple to choose and easy to apply with a shoulder spreader.

For a more finished look, and ease of application, we sell erosion control blankets, 5’x100’ swaths of compressed jute fiber. Roll it out along the hillside, securing every six feet or so with landscape stakes. In high wind areas, smashing rocks and boulders into the ground along the edges can keep the blanket from shredding in all but the most heavy of winds.

The digging of diversion trenches is hard work, but by adding a trench above the affected area, in addition to ground covers, you can reduce runoff to almost nothing. The same holds true for roadsides. You can also lay out straw wattles; specially made rolls of straw in a tubular netting. Stake the wattles down along the contour of the slope to catch silt and accumulated run off. This can also be used on ridges and hilltop landings and house pads to create a containment dyke and keep the landing’s edges from running away with the rain.

Around the house, check to see if there are any areas where water is coming out of storm gutters and digging holes. The addition of a paving stone or a bit of gravel will stop erosion immediately.

With a little bit of work and ingenuity, it is easy to keep the world from washing away. For insight into your own situation, stop by, or ask a question here on the blog!

Thanks for reading!

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