Ask a Question forum: soil erosion steep slope

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northern michigan
Jul 15, 2017 3:02 PM CST
We have a very steep sandy long slope behind our cottage where we recently had numerous popple trees removed to allow for more light and they were also rotting and falling. We planted rye grass and set up silt fences as a temporary fix until we can get it landscaped but have had numerous heavy downpours of rain this summer. The sand continues to work its way down on either side of our cottage after each storm crashing thru the fences and piling up 6 inches or more at the bottom. After the second storm we hired someone to come in with heavy equipment and move the soil back but only a week later were deluged with yet another downfall of an inch of rain in 20 minutes! Should we try to quickly get it terraced which sounds very expensive? Any other thoughts or advice? Thank you !
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 15, 2017 3:22 PM CST
Have you considered a berm and swale system?

Eroding sand ain't nuthin to leave happening.
At my house in the sandhills, my driveway has a slope, and to prevent gullies, I hand dug a system of water bars across the road.

Cant imagine water bars being enough in your situation.

Wasn't there any existing vegetation to take up the slack when you took the populars out?

Alternatively, how about a nice thick layer of mulch?
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Jul 15, 2017 3:22 PM CST
If your property drains toward the slope, a temporary berm at the top might help. My guess is that you will need both a ground cover plant plus some deep rooted trees/shrubs to hold the sand. I don't know what is appropriate for your area, so let's hope a more local gardener will be along with more specific advice. And welcome to the forum!
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Jul 15, 2017 3:32 PM CST
Try your County Extension and/or local native plant society. They should have suggestions (and perhaps even planting plans) for slope restoration.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Jul 15, 2017 4:35 PM CST
I would think that hiring a bulldozer to put the dirt back would cost about the same as terracing. Use stacking block (no mortar) for a easier, cheaper, faster installation. And don't feel as though every level has to be flat. It just has to be un-sloped enough to not wash away.

When you eventually get to the point where you can put some plants in, build planting ledges. I live on a hill of sand also and its the only way to keep the plants on the hill.

Dig out the planting hole and use the extra soil to make a flat spot with a lip. I use rocks to reenforce the outside edge. You could use stacking brick for a more formal look.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

northern michigan
Jul 16, 2017 4:38 PM CST
Thanks greatly for your suggestions!
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 18, 2017 6:10 AM CST
I asked you about existing vegetation under the trees... Forest duff would also have helped with erosion control.

What I'm not hearing...leads me to suspect that not only did you take out the trees, you added insult to injury, by scraping off anything that would have prevented the problems that you're seeing,
You probably could've saved yourself money and headache by cutting some of the trees down and leaving them, and waited before taking more out... But it does take experience with the land to recognize the need to go slow.

I was talking to someone yesterday. He did some name droppng mentioning people with newspaper columns... Big local muckety mucks in landscaping...
After telling me about the landscape plants... None of which I liked...
We got to talking about soil work.
He started with red clay... Best soil in the area...
Brought in several loads of "topsoil" (damp sand)...
And afterwards... Had erosion issues... He's been doing wall buildng ... Trying to stabilize the problem the landscaping caused...

Sometimes... Having a landscape architect isn't the best choice. They may not teach them about taking things slow and avoiding future trouble...
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Jul 18, 2017 6:29 AM CST
A neighbor across the street where 2 storm drains run along his property line built a metal remesh bar and heavy plastic liner. Not something for everyone to try (he is in the construction business) but I bet a landscaper could give some good suggestions or a bid. They seem to deal with erosion problems routinely.

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