2 Methods For Controlling Soil Erosion After A Wildfire

Plant life is what stabilizes the soil and helps it to absorb moisture after rainfall. When plants and trees are destroyed by wildfire, this can cause rainfall to run off of the soil, contributing to, and accelerating the effects of, erosion. In order to prevent erosion from destroying the local soil and washing away nutrients, preventative measures must be taken. These tips will help you control soil erosion on your property after a wildfire. 

Plant Wild Grasses

Planting wild grasses can be especially effective for the prevention of soil erosion and weed growth. Wild grasses prevent soil from blowing away and help return nutrients to the soil. Of course, planting grasses is only effective if the seeds will germinate in the area where they're dispersed.

Hydroseeding is the method by which many landowners choose to re-seed their property. Hydroseeding involves dispersing a slurry of mulch and seeds over a large area in a short period of time. Hydroseeding is especially useful on steep hills and other regions where the soil is likely to wash away during a rain storm. The mulch provided in the hydroseeding slurry is effective for seeding steep hillsides because it prevents the grass seeds from washing or blowing away during a storm. 

Block Runoff From Streams

Blocking runoff water that is speeding to nearby streams prevents the soil from being carried away in rainwater. There are a variety of ways to block runoff. For example:

  • Contour log terraces. Contour log terraces are essentially road blocks created from felled trees leftover after the fire. These trees are laid horizontally on steep hillsides. Contour log terraces slow the velocity of water running down the side of the hill, allowing it to soak back into the soil.
  • Straw bale check dams. Straw bale check dams are walls made of straw bales, placed in the way of small drainage areas and acting as a dam.
  • Silt fences. Silt fences are made of landscape fabric attached to poles. Silt fences do not actually prevent water from running down a hillside, but instead trap the sediment and allow the water to pass through. These fences are best used in areas where water is not flowing quickly in a concentrated stream, but instead is dispersed over a wide area.

By planting seeds and preventing soil from running off of hillsides, landowners can stop the effects of erosion. These steps speed the recovery process after a fire, so that the land can return more quickly to its original state.