5 Simple Ways On How To Prevent Soil Erosion

A shrub sticking out of dry brown soil

A lot of people who just started gardening tend to take for granted the importance of soil health, which is why they get surprised when garden diseases and soil complications occur. Specifically, soil erosion.

This can be very stressful since it might be too late for you to recover your plant’s condition after finding out your plant’s soil is eroding.

Soil erosion can bring a lot of difficulties to your plants, which disrupts the growth and development of your plants. The best way to prevent soil erosion is by taking good care of your soil.

If you say that you did your best but you still experienced soil erosion, then worry no more! Why? Well, in this article, you will learn how to prevent soil erosion effectively using 5 different methods.

But first, let’s understand the nature behind soil erosion.

What Exactly Is Soil Erosion?

Soil erosion refers to the displacement of the upper layer of your soil. Soil erosion is also considered a form of soil degradation. It also refers to water washing away soil either from you watering your plants or rainwater. This includes air or wind as well even if it blows away your soil if the wind is not that strong.

Topsoil, one of the best and richest soil with nutrients, commonly experiences soil erosion due to its components, which farmers find as a big problem to their crops since the nutrients are no longer properly distributing due to the disruption soil erosion causes.

A patch of cracked soil

What Causes Soil Erosion?

In the world of agriculture, soil erosion occurs due to deforestation, overgrazing, agrochemicals, constructions, and recreational activities. But for your potted plants or your garden in general, the causes are different.

Soil erosion is a natural process that is caused by frequent activities of erosive agents like air, water, ice, snow, and even animals. Usually, it happens to your soil because of running water. In case you didn’t know, running water is abundant for plants and it has a lot of attributes that cause soil erosion together with the wind. Wind is known to be one of the most common causes of soil erosion.

On the other hand, lack of nutrients, disturbance, and dry soil is also another cause for soil erosion.

In short, running water causes soil erosion, and lack of water causes soil erosion. So, what should you do? We will get there but first you need to know if your soil really is degrading or not. Or else, you may ruin your already perfect soil.

A swamp of wet and mushy soil
Image From: NDRC

How To Identify Soil Erosion

Soil erosion is known to happen over time. So, you might not notice right away. However, if your soil does not have any safety measures for soil erosion, chances are, the process of soil erosion has already begun or taken over.

To be sure, below are a few indicators that might help you determine whether or not your soil is eroding.

3 Indicators To Identify Soil Erosion

1) Unhealthy Plants

One of the most obvious indicators of soil erosion is your plant’s health. If you notice parts of your plants are dying or falling, then this might be an indicator of soil erosion because plants heavily rely on good condition soil that is rich in nutrients. Soil erosion drastically depletes nutrients, which is why it is best to repot your plants to a better potting mix.

A hand picking at a green plant
Image From: HGTV

2) Puddles

If you see puddles on your soil, this can be an indicator of soil erosion since soil erosion causes patches that looks like it has been dug.

A puddle on a patch of soil
Image From: Root Simple

3) Cracks

Cracks are an obvious indicator of both drought and soil erosion. When bits of soil are taken away from either water or air, you can expect to see cracks in your soil because cracks are the result of the absence or lacking nutrients. Another reason why cracks occur is because of intense dryness.

Cracked soil with green leaves sticking out of the soil
Image From: Mike’s Backyard Nursery

5 Effective Ways To Prevent Soil Erosion

In the case that your garden or pots are not affected by soil erosion, do not wait for it to get to your soil! Spend a little of your time in giving the effort to prevent your garden or pots from experiencing soil erosion by following one or two of the effective ways to prevent soil erosion below.

1) Use Mulch

Mulch is great for both your plants and soil because mulches help conserve soil moisture, and it also enhances the nutrient status of your soil. Moreover, mulches suppress weeds in crop plants. They are natural removers of residual side effects of pesticides as well. More importantly, mulches control erosion losses.

But that’s not all! They can be excellent fertilizers as well. When it comes to aesthetics, they are very pleasing to look at if applied right.

2) Plant Cover Crops

Cover crops are exceptional when it comes to preventing soil erosion. Along with that contribution, cover crops improve water conservation as well by reducing water runoff. Moreover, they facilitate machinery access to vineyards when the soil that you are using is wet. Cover crops help with pest control as well.

3) Add Organic Matter

Organic matter contains a lot of nutrients which is great for preventing soil erosion. Using adding wood chips, crushed stone, or other similar organic materials helps prevent soil erosion.

A person holding mulch in their hand beside a green leaf tree
Image From: Modern Gardening Tips

4) Ground Covers

Using vegetation as ground covers is a smart way to cover and bind the soil. This helps your plants to prevent wind and water erosion by covering the soil and holding together the soil firmly with their roots.

5) Terracing

If your plants are in a sloped setting, there is a high chance that soil erosion will occur due to gravity dragging your soil apart. Water disruptions will also contribute to soil erosion, and even if you add mulch, the mulches you add will probably just fall off or roll down on their own.

Terracing helps your soil amendments in place, which prevents soil erosion effectively.

Can You Treat Soil That Is Eroding?

What if your soil is eroding, can it be treated or is it too late?

Yes, it can be treated but keep in mind that it will take a little more effort. You can add new plants like flowers and grasses to anchor the soil to keep it from scattering. Another way is to mulch over plant-free areas to make the soil settle in one place, continuing the distribution of nutrients.

Building a retaining wall is also an effective way to keep soil erosion from worsening. Nonetheless, just like the ways to prevent soil erosion, there are countless ways to effectively treat soil erosion as well. As long as you are not too late, then you can still recover your plant’s soil condition.

Final Thoughts On How To Prevent Soil Erosion

Soil erosion can be prevented. After I experienced soil erosion, I realized how much of a hassle it is to fix, not to mention the cost. To avoid the same mistake I made, you should use any of the ways listed above. Rest assured, all of them are effective and easy to tackle.

If you have any questions about soil erosion or how to prevent this dreadful problem from happening, please don’t hesitate to ask below! 

About Ador Flores

Greetings! My name is Ador Flores, and I have been in love with nature ever since I was young. I bet you can agree when I say that mother nature tends to astonish you as well. While I may not be able to create mountains, waterfalls, and other majestic landscapes in my backyard, one thing is that I can for sure mimic nature by having a beautiful garden at home. Just from this simple mindset, it did not take long for me to turn gardening into a passion - a passion that changed my life forever. With the experiences I have had with gardening throughout all these years, I can definitely assure you that gardening is for everyone and I would love to share with all of you guys how fulfilling it really is! With the help of Seasonal Preferences, let us all become better gardeners and continue to promote a green and clean environment!

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