Soil erosion is a condition in which soil is carried off by wind or water from a sloping surface. This often occurs in areas near bodies of water where the weather is extreme. Soil erosion can cause structures on top of the soil to crumble. Controlling soil erosion before large-scale damage occurs is possible.
Signs of Erosion
Eroding soil will often expose tree roots as well as small and large stones in the face of the slope. Soil may also splash onto the windows or siding of structures at the top of the slope from wind moving soil through the air. Sediment from the soil may collect on pavement and in low areas around the slope. Large bodies of water along the property may be from areas of runoff from the eroding slope. Runoff water may spread mud through low areas and create mudslides.
Runoff should be controlled for several reasons. Sediment containing fertilizers from your lawn or fertilization of plants on top of the slope can pollute water, causing water poisoning and wildlife damage. Erosion removes topsoil from the sloped area, making it difficult to grow plants there in the future. Properties on top of an eroding slope may be damaged when supporting soil begins to fall away.
The proper placement of plants on a slope reduces damage from wind and water that would otherwise erode the soil. Ground-covering landscape plants, placed along a slope to break wind and slow runoff of water reduces the amount of soil removed during storms. Turf grass is an effective erosion deterrent.
Drainage pipes installed in the slope may help reduce runoff water removing soil from the slope. A drainage pipe with a 2 percent gradient down the slope, surrounded by porous dirt and gravel, helps channel water from problematic areas of the slope, reducing water speed and the volume in which it travels down the slope.
Terraces and retaining walls should be installed to reduce runoff water speed and reduce erosion. Retaining walls and terraces slow and collect running water, giving it enough time to soak into the slope. Runoff soil collects against the wall, reducing waste and allowing you the opportunity to spread it back into place using a shovel or rake.