5 Tips for How to Stop Soil Erosion

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Do you have concerns about your land eroding? Soil erosion can cause a host of issues for your property. Read on to learn more and find out how to stop soil erosion.

Why Is Soil Erosion a Problem?

You may believe that there is an endless amount of soil, but actually, it’s a fairly delicate substance that is formed over thousands of years. The top layer of soil, known as topsoil, has all the important nutrients that are vital for the health of crops and other plants and trees. This layer can be washed away by wind and water, meaning that crops cannot be sustained by this vital layer.

Land washed away by erosion means fewer plants in general. This means that there are fewer plants to take in carbon dioxide. It’s thought that soil itself takes in a lot of greenhouse gasses, with some estimates putting soil sequestering of greenhouse gasses at 5 percent of the total. There is the additional issue of soil erosion sending layers of sediment downstream, which can block rivers from flowing and potentially lead to flooding.

Examples of the Impacts of Soil Erosion

Around the world, we have already seen the devastating impacts soil erosion can cause. Jakarta in Indonesia has faced serious flooding, as sediment upstream from rivers and canals has caused overflow, leading to massive problems for Jakartans. A host of other countries have been experiencing issues caused by erosion, including the United States.

Soil erosion not only causes problems at an environmental level, but it also has a massive impact on the economy. Economic losses of soil erosion are estimated at $8 billion worldwide, as a result of decreased crop yields because of the soil becoming less fertile. In the US, losses amount to around $44 billion each year from soil erosion.

There are, however, ways to address the erosion, and it can start right on your property. Here are some tips on the best ways to stop soil erosion around your home.

1. Plant Trees and Shrubs

Bare soil can be swept away by wind and water. Planting trees and shrubs helps the soil stay together, while at the same time blocking the rain. You should aim to cover as many bare areas as possible. This is particularly important if your land is on a slope, as slopes usually erode faster than flat land.

2. Add Mulch, Rocks, or Fiber Logs

Mulch and rocks can weigh down your soil, protecting seeds and plants underneath from being washed away. These can also slow down the absorption of water.

If you’re concerned about seeds or young plants getting washed away by erosion, another option is applying mulch matting. This consists of mulch that is held together with fiber mesh. This fiber means that the mulch can stay together where normal mulch may fall victim to heavy rain or wind.

Another great option for protecting steep slopes from erosion is applying fiber logs. Water that is running down the slope gets slowed down by these logs and soaks into the soil instead of washing the mud downhill. Place the logs 10 to 25 feet apart. These can be held more tightly in place with wooden stakes or with trees, plants, or shrubs.

3. Fix Drainage and Minimize Watering

You should have pipes that drain water from your yard toward areas of water collection. If you don’t have this, heavy rain can wash away topsoil. Ask a landscaping company to look over your situation and provide an estimate for installing proper drainage. Better drainage will improve the growing conditions for the trees on your property as well.

Watering your yard too much can also speed up erosion. A great option for remedying this problem is to install a drip irrigation system. These systems work by only delivering a little water at a time so water doesn’t flood across the surface.

4. Reduce Soil Compaction

When animals, people, or machines go over the soil, they press it down, effectively creating a dense layer of soil. As there is less space between dirt particles, water cannot drain through, and instead carries soil downhill.

To avoid compacting soil, try walking on paving stones instead of the soil. Avoid driving on unpaved surfaces. You should pay particular attention to this when the soil is wet.Aeration can reduce compacted soil. You can also add compost or manure. This will attract worms, which help to break the soil into looser pieces.

5. Use Agricultural Practices That Are Soil-Friendly

If you are a farmer or keep a vegetable garden on your property, you can also reduce erosion by growing two crops in the same field, a practice known as intercropping. Alternate deep-root and shallow-root crops can additionally improve the structure of the soil while reducing erosion. In China, for instance, the Grain for Green project in the Yellow River basin helps to conserve soil and water, in turn reducing carbon emissions.

In the US, the USDA offers financial assistance programs to provide support to farmers so that they can implement erosion prevention. This not only helps farmers but also assists the community as a whole. Enacting erosion prevention is far less expensive than restoring and rehabilitating the land. Although, if erosion is already a problem, rehabilitation is essential. Look for assistance options in your state to help you to do your part to stop erosion..

Mr. Tree Services

If you’re in the Portland, Oregon, area and having problems with erosion, call the experts at Mr. Tree. We offer a range of industrial, commercial, and residential services that can help you stop soil erosion on your property and keep your yard looking exactly how you want it in no time.

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