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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Erosion Control with Native Vegetation

Why not just plant tall fescue and be done with it.  It meets my goal of establishing a persistent grass that keeps my soil covered at all times.

Native vegetation has the advantage of "fitting" in to the local ecosystem.  We know our soils and climate are adapted to the native species.  One of the problems we have in Illinois is that sometimes native species are slow to establish.  We need to use temporary covers, mulches or mats to keep the soil in place on some steeper areas.  We need to plant at the right time, and it pays to use native grass no-till drills or in extreme cases, hydroseeding.  If possible, by local produced seed.  If you are in Illinois, you are more likely to be sucessful with Illinioos grown seed.  Retaining the original topsoil and top dressing could also help.  Retaining topsoil preserves the microbes which can be critical for good nutrient extraction.

Native vegetatiioin is also generally better adapted to support wildlife than some of our traditional cool season grasses.  If you want to enhance the land for specific species check for species and varieties to support the quail, pheasant or dove that you wish to have.

The July-August Issue  of Erosion Control Magazine goes into great detail on establishing native vegetation. 

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