Controlling the adversely negative impacts of erosive forces such as wind and heavy rainfall on soils is vital in preserving soil volume. Without effective erosion control in place, multiple soil types are naturally exposed to the physical erosive forces of wind and water, stripping valuable topsoil, nutrients and potentially causing further damage to waterways. Vegetation plays a huge role in the health of the environment; It controls erosion, reduces land degradation and salinity, and provides a habitat for biodiversity and animal species. Furthermore, it provides stability to landform surfaces through root reinforcement. 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.
Establishing a cover on exposed or disrupted land is essential for good soil management and erosion control. Achieving this with grass covers that are slow to establish is a difficult practice. So how do we overcome it? A cover crop will establish quickly and work to provide a root system that will stabilise the soil by holding it together, counteracting the effects of soil erosion due to overland water flow and wind until the grass cover has established. Cover crops are generally recommended to be applied at a reduced rate to reduce the intrusive forces of the species and avoid competition with the new seedlings. Cover crops such as ryegrass, Japanese millet and ryecorn provide excellent coverage for emerging grass.
The key to good erosion control with grasses is not to plant the same kind of grass throughout, but to alternate the varieties so that you have multiple species in one area. This works well because each type of grass has a different root depth which can help prevent erosion more effectively than grasses whose roots only penetrate a few inches. Grasses that are utilised for erosion prone areas, such as steep slopes and batters, generally have low maintenance requirements. Species are normally resistant to drought, frost and fire and flood conditions. Most of these grasses have good natural pest and disease resistance and are able to adapt to harsh conditions.
Native or Introduced Seed?
Both native and introduced seed mixes offer their own advantages in certain conditions. Through hydroseeding and hydromulching processes, the best attributes of either seed type is accentuated, and the slurry is tailored to the specific requirements of native or introduced seed blends.
In the harshest conditions, Australian native seed mixes perform better, requiring less watering through application to produce comparable yields to introduced seeds. Australian natives also require significantly less coverage for similar yields when compared to introduced species mixes. Further to this, reintroducing species that are endemic to the sites natural surroundings is sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Common native grasses include:
- Wallaby Grass Species
- Kangaroo Grass Species
- Windmill Grass Species
- Weeping Grass Species
- Bluegrass Species
- Redgrass Species
In contrast, introduced species are comparatively cost-effective when revegetating a site and often cover a site more quickly than their arid environment native counterparts.
Common introduced grasses include:
- Kikuyu Grass Species
- Couch Grass Species
- Fescue Grass Species
- Buffalo Grass Species
- Bahia Grass Species