How to Plant Grass for Erosion Control

Overview

Planting grass over bare soil will reduce erosion. Erosion, or the loss of topsoil, can be most dramatic on hillsides and steep slopes. In some cases, straw must be spread over the grass seed to divert rainfall from washing away the seed. Most species of grasses are fast growing, and the young root structure will hold the soil in place. While there are many species of grasses, the season will dictate whether a hot season or cool-season grass is planted. The overall goal is to establish the grass as soon as possible to minimize any soil loss. It's important to plant two types of grass for erosion control. Sod grass seed is slow to germinate, but will put down deep roots and the blades of the grass will be close together. Examples of sod grass maybe Topar and Luna pubescent wheat grasses. The roots will form rhizomes and increase the ground cover. Bunch grass will germinate quickly and aid in holding the loose soil. Different varieties of orchard grass and blue grass are used for fast-germinating grass seeds.

Step 1

Smooth any large clumps of soil where the seed is to be planted with a garden rake.

Step 2

Broadcast the grass seed at a rate of 1 lb. per 1000 square feet. Use a mix ratio of two parts bunch grass to three parts sod grass in the mix.

Step 3

Apply an ammonium phosphate fertilizer at 6 lbs. per 1000 square feet. Broadcast the fertilizer over the seed area.

Step 4

Spread grain straw over the seeded and fertilized ground at a rate of 100 lbs. per 1000 square feet.

Step 5

Punch the straw into the soil with the edge of the shovel. The final result should have the straw protruding from the ground like bristles on a toothbrush. The upright straw will aid in holding the soil and seed in place while the grass seed germinates.

Step 6

Reseed the grass mixture in areas where the seed does not germinate.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden rake
  • Sod grass seed
  • Bunch grass seed
  • Ammonium phosphate fertilizer
  • Grain straw
  • Shovel

References

  • Colorado State Extension Service: Ornamental Grasses
  • UC Davis Extension: Seeding for Erosion Control (PDF)
Keywords: erosion control grass, erosion prevention, grass for erosion

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.