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923Re: [pfaf] Katrina damage

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  • A. A. Pasternak
    Oct 1, 2005
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      Hello Dr. Mark,

      Best wishes for a speedy recovery in all ways possible from Hurricane

      Before offering the traditional ground cover solutions, there is a way to
      encourage water retention on your slope and maybe do something different..

      "Armed with shovels, we learned the art of digging swales. The somewhat
      archaic word "swale" refers to the terracing of the hillsides for the
      purpose of capturing water run-off and avoiding damaging erosion. With the
      use of simple leveling tools, made from bamboo and a "plumb" line with a
      rock as a weight, it was possible to dig the swales while following the
      contours of the hillside slope. Before we ventured out to dig swales, we
      learned that the U.S. government, during the WPA projects of the 1930s, put
      in many large swales in the arid regions of the Western United States. These
      landforms may be seen today, still working correctly after nearly six

      Includes image:
      "The main water harvesting swales should be initially seeded to a legume
      cover crop and cover with a thin mulch of straw to force germination with
      minimum moisture requirement. Then fast growing legume trees planted on the
      up hill side these serve the system by initial shelter from wind and by
      shade greatly reducing evaporation. These trees also fix nitrogen to the
      soil while greatly enhancing the surrounding soil structure particularly
      down slope. They also produce large amounts of nitrogen rich mulch which can
      be cut and placed as mulch around the fruit trees, this greatly reduces soil
      moisture evaporation and as decomposition takes place contribute to the
      fertilizing of the fruit trees also increasing soil organic matter,
      improving soil structure. The legume trees should be prune for mulch at the
      end of summer just prior to the autumn rains as temperatures drop and
      evaporation has decreased and the system generally benefits from increased
      light. After cutting these trees quickly re-sprout new twig growth and by
      the beginning of the next summer when temperatures rise again and
      evaporation of soil moisture is a major problem they are performing their
      function of shade and wind protection. This process can be repeated year
      after year as the system establishes, eventually after a few years the wood
      from the larger prunings can be used for firewood for cooking or heating."

      More swale images:


      Easy Groundcovers for Mississippi Lawns
      Your slope may not be a lawn, but it needs a ground cover that grows in your

      However, you need something fast growing for this winter.

      Austrian Field Pea - Pisum sativum - [check page for other erosion control

      A very cold-hardy over-wintering pea; can take some sub-zero weather. Grows
      on poorer soil than clover but makes less nitrogen. Doesn't compete well
      with abundant Winter weed growth. Fall planting prevents winter, wind and
      water erosion. Flowers later than clover, giving it an advantage since it
      goes later without developing seeds. Peas only suitable as livestock feed.
      Breaks down fast into soil.

      You can get it in bulk sizes here:

      Speckled Field Pea
      Pisum sativum

      The Austrian variety is usually fall planted except in extremely cold
      climates where it is spring planted. Its viney growth habit provides
      excellent erosion control. The Speckled Field variety is spring planted as
      soon as the ground can be worked. It has an erect growth habit and is
      traditionally grown with oat. Yields 4000-5000 lb/acre dry matter and 150
      lb/acre nitrogen. Legume. Plant 80-150 lb/acre or 2-3.5 lb/1000 sq.ft.

      In the spring....

      This is one of my favourite multiple use ground cover plants:
      Carraway Thyme http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/thyherbabarona.htm
      is the best they say and is still in stock. Check the "In Stock" section.

      Here's another: http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/oreganolawn.htm

      This is a search of the MS forest commission's website for the term "erosion

      Preparing for the Storm
      Hurricane resistant landscapes

      Native Trees for Mississippi Landscapes
      at least two of these are fast growing.

      This is a search of PFAF's database for plants with the term "erosion

      This is a search of PFAF's database for ground cover plants with the term
      "soil stabilization"

      This is a seach of Garden Web's forums on "erosion control"

      Kind regards,


      P.S. Let me know what you did and how it turned out.:-)

      My Urban Garden projects
      Items wanted and Thanks
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: smallen2
      To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, September 30, 2005 9:53 PM
      Subject: [pfaf] Katrina damage

      I have a 6 acre wooded lot that had a great cover with natural pine
      straw and leaves. Hurricane Katrina destroyed about a third of my
      trees. I now have large areas with all this natural cover removed by
      the bulldozers and other machinery used to clean up the mess. It is
      largely sloped about 10-15 degrees. There are not enough trees left to
      naturally recover the aforementioned areas. I have two needs. What to
      do in the immediate future for erosion. And what to plant long term
      that will cover quickly. I have about decided to use pine straw
      initially, but have no idea what to use long term. I do not want
      grass. The area is not close to a watering source. I would like some
      sort of seed of a non-flowering ground cover that will cover quickly.
      Any advice appreciated.

      Thanks. Dr. Mark Allen, 305 S. Archusa Ave.,Quitman, MS. 39355.
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