June 14, 2015
Soil erosion is a major concern in many areas with heavy seasonal rainfall—from urban to rural contexts. In Ann Arbor MI, both rainfall and snowmelt are of concern. The area receives an average of more than 37 inches annually, between two and four inches of rain per month, and up to sixteen inches of snow during winter months. In many contexts, especially those properties with any significant slope, soil erosion can occur substantially, leading to property damage and a cascading effect on the ecosystem. But can you prevent such erosion with landscaping measures?
Rooting for the Home Team
While grass won’t thrive on many steep slopes, and trees take years to generate their extensive root systems, you can plant for soil retention. Many regionally hardy perennial shrubs and flowers act to stabilize the soil. Since they do not require replanting each year, they increase their hold on the surface soils as they mature. Planting sloping lots with hardy plants serves another purpose, as well. Dry soils and loose topsoil wash away easily under even the mildest rains.
When you landscape wisely, your plantings also help the soil to retain a healthy level of moisture. The root structures funnel excess precipitation downwards, into the water table, as opposed to it flowing downhill and taking valuable topsoil into sewer systems or stream networks. An ancillary benefit to erosion prevention through landscaping is ground cover. Both the foliage of plants and mulching materials prevent precipitation from directly falling on loose topsoil. This helps you to retain it’s nutrients and other benefits, rather than losing it to erosion.
Age Old Traditions
Another way landscaping can help you prevent erosion is by constructing a series of terraces on your property. While it benefits steeply sloped plots most, it can also be used in more gradual ways on gently sloping property. Many cultures around the world have used this technique to create arable land on steep mountain slopes. It essentially disrupts the angle of a slope, and arrests gravity’s pull on water running downhill.
While these are technically heavy projects that involve earthmoving, they are relatively simple in concept. What is important is that you contract with a team of experts to ensure that retaining walls are built properly. Structural integrity is crucial to keeping the tons of earth behind the retaining walls stable over the years.
You can also engage the help of a team of professionals to install a rain garden. These are plots that hold rain-thirsty plants, whose special gift is to filter and stall downward-flowing rain water. While some natural contexts are perfect for this without alterations, many sloped plots require some alteration. A landscaping firm will assess your property to see whether a small drain, layers of sand or gravel, and additional bulwarks are necessary to build an effective rain garden.
If you live in Ann Arbor MI and are concerned about soil loss through erosion on your property, contact us for a consultation. We’ll be happy to examine your property and determine which course is most appropriate for your budget and your particular property. Preserving the health of our local ecosystem and the beauty of our community is a part of our goal.
Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at https://www.twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.
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