Irrespective of where you live, your local climate, or how you’ve landscaped your entire yard, topsoil erosion is a constant thing due to the several forces of nature. It’s constantly eroded by the wind, rain, and human traffic. When your topsoil gets eroded you can search for “topsoil near me” and source it from a reputed supplier nearby. However, you can protect your topsoil from erosion to make fewer trips to the gardening store. Here’s how:
- Plant cover crops – Every gardener has a favorite set of plants that they like to grow. Even when you grow different crops, they have their own ideal conditions. That means your soil remains barren for a significant amount of time, weeks, or even months. When the soil remains barren, it’s easily eroded away by wind and rain.
You can prevent that by planting cover crops. When you plant cover crops on barren soil you can protect topsoil from erosion and also have other benefits. The canopy of cover crops prevents direct assault of forces of nature on the soil. It also increases soil infiltration so that you don’t have to replace insect repellants and nutrients often.
Moreover, cover crops like legumes add nitrogen to the soil and also improve its structure. When it’s time to plant the regular crops the cover crops can be harvested, and the residue can go back into the soil to become nourishment for your plants.
- Drip Irrigation – When you water your plants even at low pressure from the hose, it’s more than enough to run off the topsoil. A large amount of water moves and washes away a portion of the soil before it percolates and seeps into the soil to reach the roots. However, there’s a way to prevent that.
Instead of watering your garden with a hose or sprinklers, invest in a drip irrigation system. A drip irrigation system is a network of supply lines with drip lines attached to them. They are connected with a timer that sends small amounts of water to the supply lines. These supply lines then feed the drip lines that drip the necessary amount of water at the root zone of your plants at a controlled low pressure.
This lets the water percolate into the soil from the first drop and doesn’t erode the topsoil away. Moreover, if you live in a desert region where water is scarce and expensive, you can save a lot of money on the monthly bill. Drip irrigation also reduces weed since the areas between the plants don’t get water.
- Jute Nettings or Burlap – If your property is sloped, the topsoil is more exposed to erosion. The incline makes it easier for topsoil to roll away from wind and water. To prevent that you can use jute netting or burlap. They are made from natural and organic fibers without any chemicals.
After you seed bare soil with grass or seed a veggie bed, you can cover it with jute netting or burlap to prevent soil erosion. After you lay the jute netting, you can secure them with ground staples. If you want to plant shrubs, you can cut holes in the netting. The jute netting keeps the soil from eroding away and with time the netting decomposes into the soil. That’s when the grass and shrubs do their job of protecting the soil from eroding away.
- Adopt the no-till mindset – Tilling is done to break up and loosen soil, mix in soil amendments quickly and get rid of weeds. According to popular belief as long as the soil is free of weeds and loose in texture, it can grow something. However, tilling destroys the delicate micro-system in the soil. It destroys earthworms who are hard at work to improve the soil, kills off beneficial fungal networks, and also lays waste to humus, a rich organic component of the soil.
Tilling also causes soil erosion since it loosens the soil structure. Switching to the no-till mindset can help you in many ways. When you switch to no-till gardening the transition may take years. From killing weeds to letting them fertilize the soil. Gathering materials and creating raised beds. All that takes a lot of effort and time. However, in the end, it’s worth it. It reduces maintenance, the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and also the labor-intensive weeding process. The best thing about no-till gardening is the drastic reduction of soil erosion.
- Soil test – Before you fertilize your soil for the next year, make sure to do a soil test. A soil test can help you in many ways. It can give you the details about the soil composition so that you can make necessary changes. It prevents you from over-fertilizing your soil. Overfertilization isn’t just bad for your plants. It also causes poor soil structure and increases the chances of erosion. Moreover, it’s an unnecessary expense.
You can get your soil professionally tested by experts or even get a DIY soil testing kit. A detailed soil test doesn’t just determine the fertility and growth potential of the soil. It also pinpoints the nutrient deficiencies and the pH level of the soil. This lets you change the soil composition according to your needs and maintain the perfect soil structure that won’t get eroded away easily.
- Permaculture – You can also practice permaculture to control soil erosion. With permaculture, you develop a sustainable and self-sufficient ecosystem that improves your garden and protects your soil from the forces of nature. In permaculture specific types of trees, seeds and plants are used to hold the soil in place. You can also use retaining walls that control soil erosion and also protect your plants from frost during the winter.
With rain, wind, and humans subjecting topsoil to constant erosion, you need to protect the topsoil in your property. Adopting the above-mentioned methods can help. However, when topsoil gets eroded significantly you can search for “topsoil near me” and buy some from a store nearby.