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Garden plants to prevent soil erosion

Garden plants to prevent soil erosion


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Taking care of the soil is crucial for the long-term viability of gardens and agricultural lands. This page may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info. The epicenter of damage is the Midwestern Corn Belt, where we grow mostly GMO corn and soy on hundreds of acres of mono-cultured industrial farms. Our topsoil now blows away in the hot, dry summer, and washes away in the spring rain, traveling down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico, where it smothers aquatic life at an alarming rate.

Content:
  • Earth-Friendly Landscaping
  • Plants Recommended to Prevent Soil Erosion
  • Why You Should Apply Jute Netting to Your Garden
  • Preventing Soil Erosion - Knowledgebase Question
  • How to Prevent Seed and Soil Erosion on Slopes and Hills
  • Plants for a slope to help stabilise the soil and stop erosion
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: Two simple Methods for Erosion Control

Earth-Friendly Landscaping

Whether you are starting from a grass lawn or have existing natural areas on your property, the Conservation Home program can help you make your yard more attractive to wildlife and retain precious rainwater. Steps you can take include planting native plants that support butterflies and other pollinators, installing a rain garden or a rain barrel or two, and removing plants introduced from Europe and Asia.

Click here to see several beautiful yards that have been certified. Beautifying your yard while conserving water and creating habitat for wildlife can be easy and rewarding!

Adding native plants can help you save money, mow less, see more birds and butterflies and enjoy a functioning yard with fewer problems and less effort. At the core of environmentally friendly landscapes is the use of native plants, the absence of fertilizers or pesticides, and smart water use. Native plants are those species that were thriving locally when the first settlers arrived.

These plants have evolved over thousands of years to survive the soils and seasonal conditions of cold, rain and drought of our northern Illinois climate. As the country was settled, more and more land was converted from native landscape to farm fields, cities, roads and suburban development.

Plants that have historically been planted as replacements have been introduced from outside our local region — usually from Europe or the Far East. This has broken the dependent relationships that evolved over thousands of years between native plants and the birds and animals that are dependent on them directly or indirectly for their survival.

For example, today less than 0. The decline of many species of birds and fewer butterflies in our gardens are directly linked to these changes. Loss of open space and wildlife habitat, degradation of what remains, and dirty stormwater runoff are the leading causes of environmental problems in our developed areas. If we can replace some of this lost habitat in our yards and conserve rain water before it runs into our roads, then we can reduce some of the negative impacts of development, have cleaner water in our neighborhoods and enjoy a better quality of life.

We will also be restoring the food sources in the form of native plants that have been lost to our pollinators as land has been developed over the past years. This single act of adding native plants — including trees and shrubs — to our gardens will significantly help make our gardens not only beautiful but productive and full of life! Native plants are typically defined as those trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses that evolved over thousands of years to our climate and soils.

The assemblage of plants that evolved together in a particular place with certain light, soil and water conditions is called an ecosystem. These can be largely treeless prairie or wetland or have differing densities of trees savannah, woodland, forest.

Within any of these categories there can also be other subcategories based on soil moisture. So a prairie or full sun condition , can be wet or dry. The Chicago Wilderness Atlas of Biodiversity live link is a great resource to learn more about our pre-development plant communities. Usually, when ecologists talk about native plants they are considering those plants that evolved in the Great Lakes Basin rather than Colorado, Kentucky, California or any other region of the country.

Dependent upon the project requirements, they may specify native species whose genetic history is from within a mile or even 25 mile radius of where the planting is being done. In choosing natives to plant in your gardens, your best chance of success is first to generally match the soil, water and light conditions of the native plants in your garden according to where the plants grew historically, and second to buy plants whose genetics are from within your region.

For example, if your garden gets more than 6 hours of sun a day, the best plants to look at are those that are considered prairie species. Little Bluestem from the Great Plains would have different evolutionary history and different genetics, and might not grow as well or too aggressively in your garden.

If you have more shade on your property, native plants that grow in woodlands are a better match. That said, you can plant at least some woodland natives in full sun conditions as long as good soil moisture is available through the growing season. It is more difficult to plant prairie species in shaded conditions and expect them to thrive.

This may sound way too complicated but there are many reliable ways to purchase local native plants and connect with helpful organizations. Many of them are listed in our Resources section. Below are s ome native plant guides we love:. The world of native plant selections cultivars can be very confusing to the home gardener.

As the popularity of native plants has increased, many growers have started developing more and more selections of native species that meet certain characteristics.

Early on this was most seen with native shrubs. For example, Red-Osier Dogwood Cornus sericea is a native shrub that grows throughout most of the continental United States.

It prefers moist conditions and can withstand temporary flooding. With its red stems, it is eye-catching in the winter. The selections they came up with through breeding include:. A selection of a species, called a cultivar, is given an additional name which is written in single quotes. Little Bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium is another native plant where many cultivars have been developed and introduced to the market. And there continue to be others. Understanding cultivars helps explain several things.

In order to consistently grow the desired characteristic s the plant has been bred for, a cultivar cannot be grown from seed. So every Carousel Little Bluestem or Isanti Dogwood is genetically identical to every other plant with the same name. Buying cultivars for your garden can reduce its genetic diversity and resiliency against disease and changing climate conditions.

In addition, sometimes, when breeding for a certain characteristic, the new selection may be less hardy or more susceptible to disease. Most importantly, however, when a cultivar is developed, other traits of the plant, such as the amount of pollen or nectar produced or the physical characteristics that pollinators use to identify the correct landing spots on the flower, may be negatively impacted.

Research in this area is just beginning and should be done for each individual selection. This is the primary reason we recommend planting straight species whenever possible.

If this is not possible, your second choice are cultivars on native species over most plants introduced from Europe and Asia. The wide selection of native plants in the market today makes it easy to use natives to solve many of the problems you might find in your yard. Questions you might be asking…. There are many native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses that are adapted to these kinds of conditions that are beautiful additions to any garden.

While we understand your wanting to maintain your privacy, we cannot support your decision to maintain buckthorn. The Chicago Region Trees Initiative also has suggestions here. Well, we confess, it is very hard to find plants that will grow successfully under the shade of a Norway Maple, an introduced species that is considered invasive.

I have a place next to my driveway, garage, sidewalk… that just bakes in the sun and is very dry. Would this be a good place to use a native plant?

Many native species are adapted to dry soils typically of the sandier kind. A plant becomes invasive by being able to grow successfully and out-compete other plant species for water, nutrients and sunlight. Typically this happens because they have been taken out of their natural environment Europe and Asia in the case of buckthorn and now have no natural controls.

An introduced species may only become invasive over time, and some, such as Hosta, never do. Characteristics that increase the risk of an introduced species becoming invasive include their ability to grow quickly, to be adapted to a broad range of soil and light conditions, and to be prolific seed producers.

Another good example of this that is a terrible problem in the southeastern U. Deliberately introduced from Asia to control erosion, it is now overgrowing virtually everything. Its presence has been reported in a number of counties in southern Illinois and there has been one report from Evanston, IL. Buckthorn is spread by birds who eat the fruit that has a cathartic effect. The Kudzu, a climbing vine, can grow up to feet in one season. Back in the mids when Common Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica was first introduced in the U.

Well, the problems caused by this plant invasion are typical of those caused by any other plant species that is included under this category. Land area addressed by the Chicago Region Trees Initiative. Image courtesy of CRTI. Although bred to be a sterile cultivar, Bradford Pear has crossbred with many other P. Other commonly used introduced garden plants that are now identified as invasive include Burning Bush and Japanese Barberry. First, and most importantly, since our moths, butterflies, native bees, etc.

Since plants are at the bottom of the food chain, the bugs that depend on them are fewer because there is less food, as are the birds that depend on the bugs and so on. Now, you might see a butterfly sipping nectar or at least looking for it on a flowering plant that originated in China — Astilbe for instance — but chances are good that the plant does not provide food for the caterpillar or a home for a chrysalis.

Secondly, as an invasive species outcompetes our native plants in natural areas, the natives there slowly disappear as they are displaced or unable to survive in lower shade and soil moisture conditions. In the case of Common Buckthorn, all the native plants in the ground plane are unable to survive. As they die out, the ground under them becomes a food desert. This is a simplified explanation of what happens, but this is what generally follows the invasion of any introduced species into our valuable natural areas.

There is a finite amount of fresh water on earth and we can all take steps to protect it, starting with collecting it where it falls! When we catch and keep the rainwater that falls on our yards, we reduce flooding and stress on sewer system infrastructure, keep pollutants out of our rivers and streams, and end up with a bunch of clean water that is perfect for watering lawns and gardens, washing cars or the family dog, and offsetting household water usage in many other ways.

One simple, efficient, low-cost method to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff from your property is to use rain barrels.

Estimates indicate that a quarter-inch of rain falling on an average home yields over gallons of water. Rain barrels are simply large containers that capture stormwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost as runoff. Modern rain barrels are sealed, safe around children and insect resistant — they can even be painted or decorated to your liking.

You can divert water from your downspout to fill your rain barrel and a hose spigot on the front makes the water easy to access and use. You may notice a decrease in your water bill! View this guide or watch this video for easy installation tips. The Conservation Foundation sells rain barrels year-round through our partnership with Upcycle Products, Inc.

Rain gardens are shallow depressions planted with native plants that are accustomed to wet conditions. Rain gardens help to collect and filter rainwater and allow it to seep naturally into the ground. This helps to reduce the amount of pollutants and rainwater runoff reaching our streams.

Many of the streams in northeastern Illinois are affected by pollutants carried in rainwater that runs off our urban landscape. Non-source pollutants from our yards include excess nutrients and pesticides from lawn chemicals and pet waste.


Plants Recommended to Prevent Soil Erosion

When water from a heavy rainfall moves over your yard, it can carry away soil — particularly, the more nutrient-rich topsoil — along with it. Moving water is the most prominent cause of erosion , which can kill plants by sweeping soil away from their roots and denying new seeds and plantings the opportunity to become established. Over time, erosion can alter the overall appearance of your landscape for example, by transforming the borders of a garden and even undermine the foundation of structures like your home. On a steep slope, gravity will assist water in carrying more soil away with it. If the soil is loose, this factor will also greatly contribute to the rate of erosion.

The quality of the soil in your garden will determine the health of your plants. Believe it or not, your yard loses about 1% of topsoil each.

Why You Should Apply Jute Netting to Your Garden

Blog Contact Us Directions. Shop For Plants Cart Contents. Is there water moving across slope or down the hillside? Has erosion been common on this slope? Are there small or large channels on the slope? Where is the water going in the landscape? You cannot let water run on a slope. Be a control freak and the slope will be much more stable. Is the soil on the slope stable or is it a sand dune?

Preventing Soil Erosion - Knowledgebase Question

Make a donation. Few gardens are completely flat but steep banks and slopes pose a particular challenge for most gardeners. Planting them up with the right plants can be a great long term solution. To help stabilise the soil and give speedy coverage, strong-growing climbers or ground-cover plants are required.

Steeply sloping areas can provide many challenges and opportunities for property owners. Steep slopes are defined as areas of land that rise greater than twenty percent in angle.

How to Prevent Seed and Soil Erosion on Slopes and Hills

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity. Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone? Ask Mr. Please forgive us, but Mr.

Plants for a slope to help stabilise the soil and stop erosion

Erosion and sediment control on construction sites is a critical issue. Runoff from construction sites is by far the largest source of sediment in urban areas under development. Four primary factors determine the potential for erosion—soil type, vegetative cover, topography, and climate. This fact sheet explains the importance of vegetative cover, its role in erosion control, and its establishment on construction sites. Sediment pollution is soil out of place. There are two categories of erosion—natural erosion and accelerated erosion. Natural erosion and soil formation are essential landscape processes and are in balance when the soil surface thickness remains fairly constant over time. Vegetative cover is the biggest factor in this balance; anything that disturbs it tends to accelerate erosion.

Keep soil where you want it with erosion preventing plants! Many people have erosion issues on their property and these are some good ways.

Soil erosion is a common problem for many property owners. The solution to this issue is dependent on the trees and other vegetation in your landscape. Soil erosion is the natural displacement of the top layer of soil, usually caused by water, air, or in the case of farming, tilling the land. This can create a multitude of problems for future vegetation and even lead to further, more advanced, soil erosion.

If storms roll through, we can anticipate flooding, mudslides and property damage. Now is the perfect time to take action. Plus, storms or not, putting the RIGHT plants in the ground helps cool our environment and beautify our neighborhoods! Including a variety of native plants—groundcovers, shrubs, trees that require low-water—and mulch on your slope will help your land minimize the impact of erosion. Salvia sonomensis creeping sage : This fragrant sage sprouts blue-violet flowers during the early summer months, and is a great pick to attract birds.

Most people associate the term soil erosion with vast dust storms blowing up the topsoil and floods sweeping away the topsoil downstream during the summer and spring months. Only a few people realize that the cold winter months may also come with elements that contribute to soil erosion.

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity. Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone? Ask Mr. Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up.

The majority, if not all of our food relies on soil; our houses are built on it, and our roads too. We really should take better care of our soil, and we should try our best to hold onto as much as possible. Unfortunately, wind and rain are responsible for constantly washing away our precious soil. Planting things like trees, shrubs, and grasses is an excellent way to prevent erosion and promote healthy plant life.


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