5 Common Causes of Soil Erosion

October 18th, 2019
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Soil erosion is the process in which soil moves from one place to another by natural or man-made processes. Soil erosion has aesthetic effects, with runoff accumulating in roads and walkways. While unsightly, erosion can also create substantial safety and financial risks. Uncontrolled soil erosion can lead to soil subsidence, flooding, and mudslides that can damage buildings, roads, bridges, and seawalls. Moreover, soil erosion can lead to loss of nutrient-rich topsoil that plants need to grow. Here are five causes of soil erosion:

Water

Water is very effective at doing work. Water, either as liquid or steam, has been used to turn waterwheels, generate hydroelectric power, and move steam trains. This is because water is dense, heavy, and can be found just about everywhere.

When water erodes soil, it does the same thing. Water's density makes it very good at picking up sediment and moving it. However, the action that makes water good for power washing sidewalks makes it bad for exposed soil.

Most of Florida is considered to have a tropical or sub-tropical climate. Florida's summers are the rainiest in the U.S., even beating out Hawaii. This means that Florida is very prone to soil erosion.

Luckily, plants are particularly good at erosion control. The roots of the plants hold the soil and prevent water from washing the soil away. In areas with exposed soil, hydroseeding can be one of the most effective erosion management solutions. Hydroseeding uses a thick slurry that combines grass seed, mulch, fertilizer, and healthy soil amendments with water. The slurry is then sprayed to exposed soil that is at-risk for eroding. Because the hydroseeding slurry contains mulch fibers, it temporarily holds the soil until the grass seeds germinate. Once the grass seeds germinate, the grass holds the soil over the long term to eliminate the risk of soil erosion.

Wind

Although wind usually erodes soil more slowly than water, Florida does have an active hurricane season from June to November. Moreover, Florida has been hit by hurricanes outside of hurricane season in every month except March. Tropical storms can bring sustained winds anywhere from 39 miles per hour to 73 miles per hour. Once sustained wind speeds exceed 73 miles per hour, the storm can be classified as a hurricane.

Hydroseeding erosion control can be effective for wind-caused soil erosion. Hydroseeding slurry contains binding agents to hold and weigh down soil that might be otherwise carried away by strong winds.

Gravity

When thinking about soil erosion, gravity often worked in conjunction with water and wind. After all, water flows downhill, and a steeper slope will tend to experience faster water flows than a shallow slope. This logically means that gravity indirectly causes soil erosion.

However, gravity can also cause soil erosion on its own. Gravity can cause soil migration, a process in which soil naturally tends to migrate to reduce its potential energy. This process occurs, in part, because soil is not a solid. Rather, it consists of flowable particles that behave like fluids under many conditions. You have likely experienced flowing soil when digging a hole as soil naturally tries to fall back in.

Hydroseeding slurry contains adhesive agents that prevent this flow from occurring. In essence, soil clods are less prone to soil migration than flowable particles.

Construction

Construction is a major cause of soil erosion and often requires prevention measures, such as hydroseeding. Construction exposes soil, which allows water and wind erosion. Moreover, mounds of soil created by excavation and embankments are prone to gravity erosion. Hydroseeding these exposed areas can reduce or eliminate soil erosion.

Recreational Activities

Like construction, recreational activities can expose soil to erosion. Tires can wear treads that expose soil to erosion by water, wind, and gravity. Hydroseeding recreational areas can preserve these areas for recreational activities by future generations.

Erosion can be caused by both natural and man-made processes. Natural processes like water, wind, and gravity can cause soil to erode, while construction and recreational activities can expose soil to these natural phenomena. When you want to maintain the beauty and safety of a space, rely on Hydrograss for the best in hydroseeding.