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Monday, July 29, 2013

Grass Hedges

I recently ran across my Soil Science Society of America CD for 2012.  Many of the articles as usual are difficult to understand and apply, but one by Seth M. Dabney, Glenn V. Wilson, Keith C. McGregor (retired) and Dalmo A. N. Vieira all of USDA's Ag Research Service (ARS) entitled Runoff Through and Upslope of Contour Switchgrass Hedges.  They found that strips of switchgrass, a native warm season grass, can reduce runoff leaving the field and also reduce sediment leaving the field when planted on the contour.  Runoff reduction is kind of technical so I won't go into that, but the hard numbers on the sediment showed a 75% reduction in the amount of sediment leaving the field.  The implication of this is that a viable alternative to improve erosion control in problem areas maybe to plant about a 5 foot wide strip of switchgrass on the contour.  The switchgrass is easily established and relatively easy to maintain and control. 

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