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EROSION CONTROL

Erosion control is needed now more than ever with increased land clearing not for farms but homes, shopping centers, roadsides, landfill, reclamations sites of all kinds. Almost any plant can be used for erosion control; the most prevalent problem is choosing a coverage that grows fast and is adaptable to the area.

Believe it or not - The picture at right is an example of what kind of damage can be done by man by not conducting good erosion control practices. 

While this picturesque area is now a Georgia State Park, Providence Canyon was caused by improper farming practices over a hundred years ago.  Luckily today we understand much better what can be done to limit damage to our top soil in erosion-prone areas.  Grasses play a major part in helping to keep erosion at bay.

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TurfGrasses.com - RECLAMATION

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Annual rye, brown top millet, redtop, and many types of sorghums are just a few of the many types used in our country to fill in areas because of the early and fast rate of growth. Annuals are usually best suited to immediate coverage and will hold the soil while plans for a more permanent setting is made. Annuals grow one season and die back, usually never to return.

Permanent grasses or turf vegetation is also supplemented with the addition of the annuals while they are getting started. For instance brown top millet is usually cheap, and seeds easily... thus it is used on many roadsides, reclamations sites and pastures while the Bermuda, Bahia, or other permanent growth grass is germinating. Annual rye is an excellent choice for all lawn and pasture erosion substitute control. Any seed that germinates quickly and produces fast thick coverage is the goal in erosion control.

RECLAMATION

Reclamation grasses are used in areas where erosion control and stabilization of the ground is a necessity. Such as at construction sites, dams, levees, roadsides, landfills, mining areas, flood zones, ect.

The grasses that are used for these conditions must have low maintenance requirements.  Resist drought, flood conditions, cold, heat, and be able to exist pretty much without regular care in mostly lower fertility soils. These grasses  must have good natural pest and disease resistance and adapt to sites that many times has soil cover that is not the ideal range and type for the better turf   grasses.

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In the southeastern part of the USA;  Bahia's, Bermudas, St. Augustine along with seaside Paspalum dominate the reclamation scene. Sea oats are wild grasses growing along the beach dune areas that help hold the sand in place from total erosion by rain and wind.

Erosionseed.com - Bahiagrass

Bahiagrass is easy to start and has low fertilization requirements but needs to be mown along roadsides.  Bahiagrass can be left growing freely on land fields and areas that may not be easily accessible to mowing. It is also used in the pine tree industry and helps crowd out weeds and provide soil stabilization along with habitat for animals. Bermuda is another easy to establish, fast growing Southern grass that has low fertility requirements.  St. Augustine is native to the coasts of many beaches and the coarser, older wild versions are the ones to use for reclamation areas.

Erosionseed.com - Other Grasses
In addition to the grasses listed below, many of the grasses used for lawns (see list at right) and pastures through-out the USA make excellent reclamation grasses when in thier respective growing and adaptation areas.

Weeds:  Many grasses and groundcovers that are considered weeds or wanted plants in some situations can be used for stabilization and reclamation purposes.  Examples are Johnsongrass, Crabgrass, kudzu, common Bahia, etc.

Bluegrasses from the species of Canada and rough bluegrasses are used in areas of lower maintenance and erosion control. The Canada specie variety is especially adaptable in sights not easily maintained being  lower growing and  with the tenacity to grow in soils of lower fertility makes this grass  ideal for rocky slopes,  banks, and conservation areas. Liked by wildlife as well as a groundcover.

Dichondra is a weed in some places but has great use as a reclamation cover and doesn’t have to be mown and has a lawn like appearance along with the ability to with stand some traffic.  Buy Dichondra Seed.

Buffalo grass is a predominant Native grass coverage that is planted in the mid west for its ability to withstand drought and colder weather conditions and has a beautiful growth and has held the plains intact for centuries. It is easy to plant from seed and the denseness of growth really holds the soil in place. It grows from Canada to Mexico across the mid US Sown at ˝ to 1/2.  Buffalo grass has gained popularity in recent years for use in lawn areas.

Blue Grama is another native Plains grass and is used in the arid, alkaline soils and can take the temperatures down to – 40 but is considered to be a warm season grass. It can be planted by seed and has a beautiful teal color with fine texture. This is a slow growing grass and can be mown or left natural. It is found from mid Canada to the mid American states. 1-3 lb. seed per 1000 sq ft germinates in 30 days. - Seed www.nativegrasses.com for more information.

American Beachgrass is a native grass in the areas of the mid to upper coasts of the Pacific and the Atlantic and is chiefly responsible for holding the sand dunes in place. It has great tenacity and can withstand winds and changing temperatures and establishes a deep and widespread root growth. Without a planting of this nature the dune area would be completely eroded. These grasses provide shelter for wildlife that lives on the brink of the ocean waters. During storms and in places in places where stabilization is needed this is the first line of defense.

Blue stem grasses are native to the Great Plains and they are found in one variety or another in approximately one third of the US interior and on the lower part of Lake Michigan as far east as Indiana, through Illinois, Minn., Montana into Canada and south through Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and into the south of part of Arizona.

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