Best plants to avoid erosion

Whether you have a particular problem with erosion on your property, or if you are just being a proactive and prudent gardener, you need to know what plants you can use to help avoid erosion problems in your garden and on your property.

Using particular plants can help you keep your soil where it needs to be. Problems with erosion are caused by plants that don't have strong root systems, are caused by too much water, are caused by wind, and are also just a natural occurrence. Here are the best plants that you can use to help prevent and avoid erosion.

1. Cover crops

Cover crops are ground covers that are planted both in farming productions and also in home gardens and landscaping. One of the most helpful and efficient ground covers for preventing erosion, helping ensure that too much water doesn't evaporate, and also preventing weeds, is velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens). Velvet bean also is helpful in aiding the soil to return to its natural chemical equilibrium. In fact, it has been widely used in Nigeria to help re-establish the proper soil pH and increase the availability of phosphorus.

2. Wind breaks

A wind break is created when you plant a tight or dense row, rows, or stands of trees on the side of your property where wind is particularly strong and sweeps across your yard (the windward side). Because of the size of your property, you probably only need one tight row of trees. The idea is that the foliage of the tree will help block the wind, thus protecting your property and your soil from erosion. Because of the importance of the foliage, evergreen trees are generally considered to be the most efficient and effective trees to use in a wind break. However, any tree that has a significant amount of foliage through the entire year will work.

3. Perimeter treatment

One especially important way to prevent soil erosion in your yard is to have effective perimeter treatment. This means that you are protecting your yard and ensuring that soil does not run out of it at the edges by planting ground cover (such as velvet bean and lamb's ear), trees, and shrubs. Simply the presence of well established plants will help you control the amount of soil erosion occurring at the edges of your property.

4. Sumac Shrubs

Now, before you skip to the next plant because you sure don't want to plant any poison sumac around your house, let me stop you. There are many different varieties of sumac, and poison sumac is just one of them.

Sumac actually is a particularly spectacular way for you to avoid and to prevent soil erosion on your property. Not only does sumac help you keep your soil where you want it, it also provides a spectacular focal point for your yard in the fall. Sumac leaves turn just as bright, just as colorful, and just as stunning as the famous Vermont maples, and also help you garden more effectively. Try the staghorn sumac, or the smooth sumac. This is a particularly good choice if you happen to be allergic to our next plant, which is juniper.

5. Juniper (Blue Rug variety)

The juniper Blue Rug variety is a rather low lying shrub (height of 4" - 6", spread of 5' - 6'). It grows low to the ground, but spreads out over a wide area, making it the perfect option for covering any difficult to mow area that is particularly prone to erosion. Blue Rug is optimal for steep hills, for example. Its color is a silvery-blue, and in the winter it turns a purple-bronze. The plant is incredibly low maintenance, and can help take care of any weeds on its own. Blue Rug loves full sun, and likes a well-drained soil.

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