1Plant emergency cover. You can do this right away on bare soil that is relatively flat and doesn’t have deep channels or gullies. Emergency cover plants are usually grasses or other groundcover plants that grow very quickly, putting down thick roots that will hold the soil together so it doesn’t wash away during the next rain. Check with your local nursery to figure out which fast-growing ground-covers work well in your region. It’s best to plant a mix of plants, rather than just one, so that you have backups in case one type doesn’t take hold. Buy your seeds, then proceed as follows:
- Use a hoe or garden rake to work compost or manure into the soil. You can also use a light fertilizer if you want. This will help nourish the seeds and give them the best chance of growing.
- Broadcast the seeds a few days before rain is expected. Most grass seeds don’t need to be buried in the soil, so you should be able to simply broadcast them over the top.
2Add a layer of mulch or brush mats. If you planted the seeds in an area on a slope, or in a place where you fear they might get washed or blown away, you can protect them by adding a light layer of mulch. Use brush or another light material that won’t stifle the seeds. For hillsides and places where you fear the mulch will wash away, lay a brush mat over the area to protect the seeds. Here’s how to make one:
- Lay out long pieces of brush in a vertical pattern.
- Lay more brush pieces horizontally across the vertical pieces.
- Attach them with small pieces of thin wire or twine.
- Make the mat as small or large as necessary, then lay it over the ground.
3Plant structural trees. Once the groundcover has grown up healthy and strong, strategically plant structural trees that will root even deeper in the soil to hold it together for a long period of time. Space them out so that the entire area under threat will be served by the trees’ root system. You don’t want to choose trees that require digging a big hole and disturbing the soil, because it’s still too fragile for that. Rather, choose a type of tree that roots easily from a cutting and grows quickly.
- Willow trees, black locust trees and elderberries are good selections for this purpose.
- Growing a line of trees around a farm, if possible, can be a good idea for preventing most mechanical methods of erosion.
- A lot of afforestation (also known as reforestation) activities are being managed on a global scale to preserve the soils.
- A special modification of this is the riparian vegetation that is grown at the interface of any land and water line. The intention is to prevent the soils from migrating into the water line, or to prevent the water from seeping onto the land and carrying the soils away with it.
4Plant permanent vegetation. After several seasons, when you’re confident the area is stable enough to house more permanent vegetation, it’s time to plant native species in the area. Talk with an expert at your local nursery or do online research to find out which plants and trees grow well in your region. It’s important to stick with native species, since they’ll have the best chance of surviving and preventing further erosion from occurring. The permanent vegetation should be a combination of the following:
- Other species native to your area