Because your landscape is the first thing your customers and clients see, you want to ensure your property is clean, well-kept, and well-manicured. You hire a professional landscape company to mow your lawn, weed the property, add mulch, take care of your trees and shrubs and handle low-key maintenance. What could go wrong? Soil erosion. The foundation for a healthy lawn is nutrient-filled topsoil. But when soil erosion occurs, it can wash away vegetation, create bare spots, create gullies and muddy areas and cause a dangerous environment for you and your clients.
At Hydroseed Inc., one of our main focuses for commercial properties here in the South Bend, Indiana area is erosion control. Through the information below, we explain what soil erosion is, why it’s so important to recognize the signs, and what you, as a property owner, can do to help prevent this problem from happening to you.
What Is Soil Erosion?
“Every 5 seconds, the equivalent of one soccer field is lost due to soil erosion.” This quote, spoken by The United Nations on December 5, 2020, could not be more true. Soil erosion is the gradual process of movement and transport of the upper layer of soil (topsoil) caused by varying elements including, water, wind, and mass movement. Ultimately, soil erosion causes deterioration over time.
What Causes Soil Erosion?
Soil erosion can be caused by differing factors, several of which are naturally occurring and others caused by human interaction. Below we list a few.
This typically occurs during extended or heavy rain. When enough of the topsoil layer is displaced, it can cause sediment flow on your property, blocking gutters, storm drains, and curbs. This causes an overflow or backup that could result in flooding for your or your neighbors.
When there is a lack of rain in South Bend but an abundance of heat, the ground will dry up, making it easier for the wind to blow the soil away. When it does rain after a long drought, the land will be too hard to properly absorb the water as quickly as it needs to.
One of the leading causes of soil erosion is deforestation. Trees and their roots provide the soil with an anchor, as well as shelter from the wind and rain. When forests are wiped out, the land becomes exposed, leaving it vulnerable to being washed or blown away by elements. The increasingly high demand for commodities such as coffee, soybean, palm oil, and wheat is clearing out acres of land at a high speed.
When intensive cattle raising takes place, plants don’t have the recovery period they need, and the soil ends up crushed and compacted by cattle. The topsoil sediments are then transported elsewhere.
Excessive use of lawn chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, and weed control increases the chance of erosion and sediments being transported into our water system.
Turning over crops can often fracture the soil’s structure, accelerate the surface runoff and cause soil erosion.
Construction and Recreational Activities
The construction of buildings and roads stops the normal circulation of water. The water runs off to flood nearby lands speeding up the erosion process in these areas.
Why is Soil Erosion a Problem for Your South Bend Commercial Property?
When soil erosion occurs on your commercial property, it can leave behind bare spots, alter the layout and design of your landscape, cause slope instability, weaken your property’s foundation, and cause plant and tree roots to become visible. Roots need the warmth and protection of soil. Without soil protection, their health is at risk and promotes vulnerability to disease, insects, and death.
Soil erosion is not just a problem for your landscape but a huge problem for the planet overall. According to the World Wildlife Federation, over half the topsoil on mother earth has been lost in the last 150 years. Soil erosion leads to increased pollution and sedimentation in streams and rivers. It also increases the chance of flooding, loss of crops, and unappealing landscapes.
Signs Your South Bend Property Is Experiencing Soil Erosion
Bald spots on your property are often the first sign because the soil is being pushed elsewhere.
If your flowers, trees, or vegetables are showing their roots, there is a good chance you lost soil. Roots should always be hidden by soil where they will stay warm and have easy access to nutrients and water.
Changes in Your Landscape
If you start to notice rocks, boulders, or other hidden elements you were unable to see before, there is a strong chance you have soil erosion. When soil moves away, it reveals anything left behind.
Changes in Water
If your property includes a water source such as a river, creek, stream, or pond, you may notice cracks along the banks, clumps of mud or grass floating in the water. These are all signs soil erosion has occurred, and parts of your soil have been transferred to your water source.
Preventive Measure You Can Take
While some soil erosion is a part of a naturally occurring environment, there are things you can do as a property owner to help prevent mass amounts of soil from depleting. You can help prevent soil erosion by changing the grade and quantity of vegetation. Other preventive steps you can take include:
- Level out your landscape to help slow the process of soil erosion.
- Add in tons of plants, grass, and foliage to help protect the soil from rain and wind, while the roots help hold the soil in place.
- Add mulch to help to absorb some of the water and protect your soil from rain, wind, and drought.
- Place crushed stone, wood chips, and other similar materials in heavily used areas where vegetation is hard to establish and maintain.
- Install a border or retaining wall to help slow down water and prevent erosion. Doing this will also add an aesthetically appealing element to your landscape.
- Contact a professional who specializes in erosion control for commercial properties.
Hydroseed Inc. Specializes in Helping Commercial Properties With Erosion Control
At Hydroseed Inc., our commercial property services focus on erosion control and roadside work. If you are experiencing symptoms of soil erosion on your commercial property, or want to prevent it before it happens, contact the experts at Hydroseed Inc. Visit our website now for more information, or give us a call at 800-468-LAWN and find out how we can help you today. Also, check out our blog postings for other tips and ideas, and like us on Facebook for all our latest deals and promotions.