What Is The Best Grass For Erosion Control?

Most home owners have reasonably level blocks of land so their choice of grass types is really only limited to the types suited to the climate in that region. There are other home owners who have one or more deep slopes and growing grass in these areas can be difficult, and they can be even more difficult to mow. One of the problems with maintaining a lawn on a slope is erosion control – one heavy downfall and the lawn’s roots are exposed and the grass starts to wash away. There is a wide range of solutions available, especially if you look at native grasses. In most cases they don’t even need mowing.

Native grasses are often tall growing grasses so they are not suitable for use if you only want a ground cover. One grass that is well worth considering is Crown Vetch. This is a low growing legume which requires little maintenance once established. Crown Vetch is both drought and cold tolerant so it is suitable for a wide range of regions. As a ground cover, it flowers profusely with pinkish-purple flowers from late spring all the way through summer – it’s more like a floral carpet than a lawn, a factor that should be considered before seeding.

The down side to Crown Vetch is that it is very slow to germinate and grow. The most successful method to gain a good cover is to mix your Crown Vetch seed with Creeping Red Fescue and Annual Ryegrass. These grasses will germinate quickly and provide some erosion control while the Crown Vetch slowly germinates and sinks its much deeper network of roots. If you plant now through to the end of September you will find that, in two years, you have a wonderful cover of Crown Vetch and erosion on that slope will be a problem of the past. Being a legume, you will not need to fertilize – just water occasionally when the weather is really dry, and perhaps mow in early fall after the summer flowering has finished.

You can use a lawn seeding tool for small slopes, simply seeding through any existing grasses. For large slopes, you can either seed it section by section or do a complete renovation. For best erosion control, over seeding section by section is the better method – if you completely renovate, you run the risk of losing a lot of your soil during the next heavy rain. Crown Vetch – it looks good, has great soil erosion control qualities, and it’s low maintenance, perfect really for difficult slopes.

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