Vetiver – Soil and Water Conservation
VETIVER-SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION
- Loss of surface soil and soil nutrients due to excessive rain run-off ,is a serious problem. Farmers across the globe, have suffered the loss of over 50% of the worlds topsoil in the last 150 years.
- There is increasing evidence that seasonal rains are becoming more frequent and more intense. This increases the risk of soil erosion and in the long term making it more difficult to reinstate the land for agriculture.
- Vetiver Grass planted in a linear hedge ( 15cm-20cm apart), following the contours of the slope, slows rain run-off, causing the rain to spread out more evenly, and reduces soil and nutrient loss and conserves soil water
- Vetiver plants with their deep roots and strong resilient shoots, allow sediment to build up behind the hedge forming natural terraces, allowing native planting to establish quicker. The action of Vetiver is two-fold, not only do the extensive fibrous roots prevent soil moisture from draining away down the slope, but the strong resilient shoots trap sediment on the surface, preventing soil nutrients also from washing away
- A hedge of Vetiver plants also provides a natural windbreak, reducing windblown soil and nutrient loss, a significant cause of surface soil erosion, particularly in flat and expansive landscapes
- Vetiver Grass is used throughout the globe to conserve soil and soil moisture; including Thailand, India, Australia, China, Central America, Vietnam and many other countries
VETIVER IN THE UK
- Vetiver is a tropical grass and is able to withstand temperatures to -15oC, but it is unlikely to grow in the UK as quickly or robustly as it does in Tropical and Mediterranean regions. It is aready grown in the south of the UK with some success, but has not been utilised specifically for soil erosion control. Vetiver Grass UK is undertaking extensive trials as part of a PhD Research project to assess the viability of using Vetiver for this purpose. We believe that by planting more mature plants and planting closer together, then Vetiver will still provide some protection to against soil erosion
- Vetiver Grass UK supplies plants that are more mature, with a greater root density and more shoots to ensure they establish quicker in the cooler UK climate