Can You Use Plants to Help Slow Soil Erosion?

June 29th, 2018

Soil erosion is caused by the harmful impacts of heavy rain and winds wearing away at topsoil. This is bad for your property and local waterways as harmful pesticides and various other pollutants are washed into rivers, streams, and lakes. Don’t lose your valuable soil to the elements; protect your private land and the environment at large by making some changes to your landscaping. If you start planting to slow soil erosion now, then you’ll lose less soil later on. It will also help to safeguard the overall health of your soil by maintaining the nutrients for future generations of roots.

How it Works

As high wind and heavy water-flow moves through the soil, they can sweep away your soil down hillsides of any grade, taking away precious land and putting hazardous contaminants in the water we drink and affecting the delicate ecosystems that reside there. Introducing plants into the soil can stop that detrimental erosion in a variety of ways.

Above the soil, plants provide helpful cover to protect from harsh winds and break up the force of pounding raindrops that splash against the plants, thereby reducing their impact before hitting the soil below. Plants also impede the flow of water as it rushes over the soil, slowing it down and letting it soak in. Below the soil, the roots of your plants, shrubs, and trees are instrumental in holding the soil together, providing a sort of framework that secures the soil in place and prevents it from being washed downhill. Planting even prevents foot traffic from stomping down and loosening the soil which can also have a negative impact.

The Many Benefits

Without plants, your soil can easily be washed away. The topsoil is swept out first, taking with it all of the precious nutrients that are needed for vegetation to grow. Once that’s gone, the soil beneath it has little nourishment for plants to thrive. In turn, the area may become barren and arid.

Planting root-heavy growth not only prevents erosion, but it also contributes to the life-cycle that starts with the growing of the root and eventual death of the plant, which then replenishes the soil once again with more nutrients so another may grow in its place. This continuous cycle keeps the soil healthy for future generations of roots. When the soil is washed away, this delicate balance is disturbed and becomes detrimental to the land and water around it.