8 Best Solutions for Soil Erosion

Studies have shown that the amount of fertile soil lost every year as a result of erosion is around 24 …

Studies have shown that the amount of fertile soil lost every year as a result of erosion is around 24 billion tons. Furthermore, almost 50% of the planet’s topsoil has been lost over the past century. Soil erosion has negatively affected agriculture and other activities. For instance, it can gradually destroy the soil’s nutrients and lead to the loss of crops that have been planted. In some cases, the soil will also find it hard to store water. 

After learning about all the consequences of when soil erosion occurs, you’re probably wondering what the best way of preventing soil erosion is. Luckily, there are many effective ways to control soil erosion. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most powerful methods for stopping soil erosion. Read on to learn more!

What Is Soil Erosion?

Before talking about the different solutions for soil erosion, it is important to explain what the problem of “soil erosion” is. This will enable you to understand it much better.

small plant rising from bad soil

Soil erosion is a process whereby the soil particles are gradually removed by natural factors like wind (wind erosion) and water (water erosion). Once this happens, the soil will begin to deteriorate. It can also be seen as a situation whereby different agents cause the soil’s upper layer to move.

Whenever the problem of soil erosion is talked about, many people are quick to claim it can hinder their land’s fertility. Although this is true, there are more negative effects that you need to know. For example, it can lead to stream/river sedimentation.

Furthermore, there is a very high chance of flooding being experienced since the soil will find it hard to absorb water.

How Can You Help Control Soil Erosion?

Given all of these problems, you can see that considering the various solutions for soil erosion is very important. They will be explained below:  

Planting Vegetation

When it comes to controlling soil erosion, there are many options to explore. However, planting vegetation remains one of the most effective and reliable ways. It entails planting crops that have deep roots. These can help to hold the soil firmly. You can adopt this practice in places that are highly vulnerable to erosion like hillsides and streams.

Some plants that can help you control erosion are native prairie grasses, woody perennials, and wildflowers. Vegetative barriers are known to have stems that are thick and condensed. These can impede water flow to a great extent. 

Planting trees can help in the prevention of landslides. You can start planting native trees. Remember that older trees are a more effective solution for erosion control. In other words, be patient since your trees will need time before roots can be developed.  

Wood chips

Application of Mulches

This method of controlling soil erosion may sound simple. However, there is no doubting the fact that it is extremely powerful. It involves covering the soil surface using mulch materials. The goal is to ensure that such soil doesn’t get washed away due to erosion.

Please note that mulching is only recommended as a way of controlling soil erosion when it is at the initial stages. In other words, you will need a more advanced solution once the problem becomes more complicated.

For landscapes and gardens, you can try out wood mulches. Some other materials you can consider using are gravel, straw, and grass hay. The most effective solution for the erosion of mulches is wood fiber and straw. These can help to protect the soil from traffic-induced erosion.

Avoidance of overgrazing

Overgrazing is a situation whereby too many animals are grazed in a place for a long period. Apart from changing vegetation structure, this is also capable of causing erosion. If you have been thinking about how to control soil erosion, avoidance of overgrazing is a practice that can help.

When vegetation becomes poor, such can make the soil not hold or absorb water. Sustainable grazing needs to be practiced. One of the best ways to achieve such is ensuring grazing is rotated. In other words, don’t allow your animals to graze in one place for a long time. Move them to different plots of land. This has been discovered to help pasture plants recover very fast.

Overgrazing is capable of reducing ground cover. This paves the way for erosion to happen. With time, plants will find it hard to grow. In a nutshell, it can lead to serious soil erosion. Therefore, avoid such practice.

Silt fencing

If you don’t know, silt fencing remains one of the most effective solutions for soil erosion. It can also be called a filter “sock” or “fence”. This is a temporary measure adopted in the control of sediments and to slow surface runoff. A silt fence can be installed to prevent sediments from moving into the closest waterways. For the goal of controlling erosion to be achieved, it has to be properly built or constructed.

Although it can be easily installed, you may get it wrong. Once this happens, it will no longer be considered a reliable solution for erosion control. This is because it can’t effectively prevent sediments as explained above.

If you are having problems constructing a silt fence, it is recommended to hire an expert. It is also worthy of note to point out that filter fences can help reduce problems related to floods.

Improving your drainage

This is one solution that is mostly ignored when people are talking about how to solve soil erosion-related problems. When water flow is impeded, there is every chance that it will begin to spread all over your land. Once this happens, it is only a matter of time before erosion will be experienced.

To avoid this problem, ensure that your drainage has been properly constructed and channeled. There must be structures through which water can be drained out effectively. Watch out for places that are characterized by heavy water runoff. This is because perforated drainage pipes will need to be installed underground.

The above will ensure water flow is directed to safe outlets. This solution of erosion control is very effective when done properly.

Avoidance of soil compaction

The problem of soil compaction can prove to be devastating in the long run. It is a practice whereby people, animals, and machines are allowed to move over soil continuously. As this happens, the soil structure will become consolidated (harder). In such cases, compact soil particles will have less space between one another.

This makes it difficult for water to drain through. In other words, the soil will find it hard to drain or absorb water. In this case, topsoil will be carried downhill. It is even worse when the soil is wet. This is because trampling on it can lead to soil clumps.

But how can you help control soil erosion in such instances? One way to fight against this problem is by adding compost or manure to the soil. This has proven to be effective in breaking off soil clumps.

Reduce watering

Do you know that soil erosion can be caused by overwatering? This is one solution to erosion that can help to keep your soil in the best of conditions. Overwatering your garden can contribute to erosion. This is because you are washing the soil away without knowing. Water is indeed crucial for the process of photosynthesis to take place. 

However, such practice has to be done in moderation to avoid the problem of soil erosion occurring in the long run. Apart from this, it can also affect your plants and make them experience a limited oxygen supply. Try as much as possible to regulate the process of watering your plants.

Using a drip system can help in such a regard. Again, drip lines can be installed. This will ensure the roots are directly watered. You can also come up with a timetable regarding periods of the day that your garden needs to be watered. This should be modified based on the seasons.

image of terraced landscape

Terracing Can Help

We can’t discuss the solutions for soil erosion in this post without mentioning terracing. This is because it remains one of the most popular methods to minimize soil erosion. If you have sloping land, this is one method that can help to a great extent. It involves the construction of ridges as well as channels across the slope. Terracing is a process where the natural landscape is altered.

It can help in controlling soil erosion by reducing or slowing down the runoff energy/rate. Some terraces can direct water flow underground. This solution of erosion control can also help to improve soil moisture.

Please ensure you are not constructing terraces on sandy soil. This is because it can reduce soil quality by up to 30%. However, if you have fields that are used in cultivating wheat and rice, this practice can help to fight against soil erosion.

Final Thoughts

These are the most popular solutions to prevent soil erosion. It is recommended you don’t try to implement all the ideas at once. Instead, choose a solution for erosion control from the various options above and stick to it. This must be something you are comfortable with.

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I have years of experience in solar energy, and I believe that we as a society must move towards utilizing clean energy sources. We have made significant advancements in this area over the past few years, but there is still more work to be done. I hope that sharing my knowledge and experiences will help others understand the importance of moving towards cleaner forms of energy production.

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