Erosion may be a natural process, but it can still cause a lot of agricultural problems if it isn’t managed. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to manage the negative effects of soil erosion.
Vegetation can go a long way towards controlling wind and water erosion, especially when it is planted in the right way. While large trees planted close together will effectively prevent the worst effects of soil erosion, they take a long time to grow. You can certainly plant trees on your land, but dense grass and perennials will be more effective if you are in more immediate need of erosion control.
If you want your crops and other vegetation to be particularly effective in reducing soil erosion, try planting it in rows that run perpendicular to any water flow. This will create something of a natural dam that traps water and shifting soil that flows from higher elevations.
Laying Down Mulch
Mulch has always been effective in helping crops to grow, but it can also help prevent the effects of soil erosion. When it is spread evenly, mulch even provides more protection to the soil than canopy cover by absorbing rain and water runoff. Compost, wood chips, straw and even sawdust all make effective mulches.
Terracing is an erosion prevention technique that is mostly used on large farms, but it can still be implemented on smaller parcels of land. Terracing is a way of tilling soil to form earth embankments that effectively trap running water and rainfall. It can be used to collect rainwater and increase soil moisture, or it can be used to reduce the slope of a hillside.
Contouring is similar to some of the other erosion management techniques discussed above in that it involves planting crops and creating soil embankments. The difference is that contouring involves planting crops and tilling soil on land that is roughly the same elevation. It is most effective on relatively flat land, but it is highly effective in stopping runoff and shifting soil that comes from higher elevations.
These are just a few of the things that farmers and private land owners do to manage soil erosion. Some of them will obviously require more work than others, but even things such as planting perennial vegetation and knowing how to till your own soil can help reduce some of the damage caused every year by both water and wind erosion.
Rocky Mountain Compost is here to help if you prevent water erosion, please give us a call today!