Moon Valley Nurseries
Understanding Soil Erosion
There are many great reasons to start planning out designs and picking out trees and plants to add to your yard, like adding curb appeal, creating a kid-friendly yard, or turning a piece of your yard into a relaxing garden. Unfortunately, due to our severe monsoon storms and wild fires over the last few years, Arizonians are forced to plan for soil erosion.
What is Soil Erosion?
It is a natural occurring process of the topsoil (the top layer of soil) wearing away or eroding. This can be caused slowly by wind and water, as you can see if you look at the Grand Canyon. Eventually the impact of the water and wind will cause soil areas to crumble after it gets worn too thin.
The wildfires that have hit Arizona in the last few years are creating soil erosion at a much faster pace, and the rain we are getting now is another factor in speeding up the process.
How Do Wildfires & Rain Create an Escalated Soil Issue?
During the devastating fires that we have had over the last few years, communities have seen damage of unimaginable scale. When the fires burn through areas, they burn all the trees and plants in their way. This causes the ground, and the layers of soil on top of it, to harden.
With the ground hardened by the fire, the chances of landslides are increased. When you throw in heavy rain that comes in the weeks and months after large fires, there is now a chance of mudslides. When water hits the scorched ground, it not able to absorb into it so it simply runs down. For homeowners with slopes and hillsides on their property, those intense downpours can cause mudslides and cause serious damage!
According to the National Weather Service, about a half inch of rainfall per hour is enough to start mudslides. At one point during the recent downpour in parts of Southern California, more than 1.5-inches of rain fell in one hour.
How Do You Help Control & Prevent Soil Erosion on Your Property?
We can do some things that can prevent soil erosion from happening. The main thing is to stay on top of your property. Plant trees and other plants, such as shrubs on hillsides. Trees with hearty, deep roots are going to provide the most benefit as they tend to stabilize the soil.
The roots go deep and help hold the bottom layers together to lessen the chance of the ground slowly sliding apart. It’s also a good idea to plant shrubs and other plants so that they can help reduce runoff by holding soil in place with their root systems. The combination of trees and shrub roots will make sure multiple ground layers are being stabilized.
What Should I Be Planting to Control Soil Erosion In My Yard?
Planting the right trees and plants can make all the difference when trying to fix erosion in your yard or making sure it doesn’t happen on your property at all. We have compiled a list of trees and shrubs that work hard and fast to fix any signs of soil erosion in your yard!
Best Trees and Shrubs to Prevent Soil Erosion
Ficus Indian Laurel Tree | Ficus Nitida
Ficus Nitida trees are hardy and adaptable evergreens ideal for growing in the Southwest. In fact, this popular shade tree variety loves to grow where there's plenty of full sun exposure. Of course, one of its big selling features is its wide spreading canopy, which features lush green foliage that adds beauty to any environment. We love to plant them on any landscape that could benefit from its generous shade capability.
When properly placed around a home, its canopy can provide enough shade to help cool the home, which can lead to lower utility bills and a more comfortable indoor environment during those hot days!
California Pepper Tree | Schinus molle
The California Pepper Tree is a fast-growing tree that loves the sun and flourishes in warm climates like our coastal region. This evergreen tree is a recommended tree for issues such as fixing soil erosion. It is a popular shade tree that grows large and looks great in any landscape, adding texture around existing plants in your yard.
As it grows, the canopy will spread wide and offer more and more shade each year. The canopy also helps keep rain storms from flooding the area around the tree. This tree grows in a multi-trunk and single-trunk form, which can be fun for climbing and will create an interesting look when night landscape lighting is placed around it.
Magestic Ash | Fraxinus uhdei 'Magestic'
The deep green, shiny foliage of the Majestic Ash Tree can stay with the tree year-round in our normal winters providing lasting shade and privacy. These are a medium to large fast-growing shade tree that works in nearly any landscape application, and once established can become a water-wise tree. Planting these Ash trees on slopes can also be beneficial for erosion control as well. The premium cultivar's used by Moon Valley Nurseries also makes the Majestic Ash more disease and pest resistant, making these a perfect low maintenance tree for your home.
Myoporum | Myoporum parvifolium
Myoporum is an evergreen shrub that is used mostly for ground cover. They spread rapidly across the ground and can protect the landscape underneath. While trees are great plant life to add to any areas of your yard that are being affected by soil erosion, they aren’t the only superheroes!
Soil erosion is best addressed by planting trees & plants with different root systems. A tree root system will stretch deep and/or out, which helps with the bottom layers of ground, but shrubs and smaller plants start helping the top soil from the moment they are planted. Myoporum shrubs can grow in almost any type of condition, which makes them great choices for slopes and hillsides.
Trailing Rosemary | Rosmarinus officinalis
The name of this shrub gives it all away! It is the trailing variety of rosemary and can cover quite a bit of ground when allowed to spread. This shrub is super easy to grow and can handle being planted in almost any soil conditions. It can also be trained to grow up to 2 feet to add texture to landscape.
As this shrub is drought-tolerant and adaptable to full sun or part shade it is, the Trailing Rosemary is a top choice for fixing erosion issues in your yard.
Free Landscape Design Consultations
Moon Valley Nurseries offers every service that you can think of when it comes to landscape designing from the very first sketch of your yard to taking care of your yard for years to come with our amazing fertilizer products to help keep your trees healthy.
We make the process of getting your dream yard a fun and enjoyable experience for you. Come in or call Moon Valley Nurseries today and see how easy it is to get your dream landscaped yard. You will find expert designers at every location ready to help you out!
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