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Gardener scrambles to keep hillside yard from washing away: 'This rain will likely rip down the slopes'

"It seems to be a trend — more rain in the winter than snow."

"It seems to be a trend — more rain in the winter than snow."

Photo Credit: iStock

Faced with heavy rains that could wash their hillside yard away, a gardener has turned to Reddit for natural solutions using native plants

Slopes may be one effective way to prevent waterlogged gardens from flooding, but this gardener is now suffering the brunt of multiple gardens' runoff, which is causing soil erosion.

Two photos show the browning grass, where the soil erosion is worst. The gardener describes how they planted lilies and Pennsylvania sedge to combat the issue, but to no avail.

The sedge layer is still thin, while the lilies die off in the winter. With worsening wet weather expected in the Redditor's Washington DC home, their garden will need all the help it can get through the cold months. 

"It seems to be a trend — more rain in the winter than snow," they wrote. "This rain will likely rip down the slopes and there is evidence of increasing erosion on them."

soil erosion
Photo Credit: Reddit
soil erosion
Photo Credit: Reddit

Soil erosion is a common problem for gardeners, which affects soil health and the ability for plants to flourish.

It particularly impacts the topsoil, which contains the bulk of nutrients for plants because of its high concentration of organic matter. When the topsoil is eroded by wind, rain or excessive tilling, the soil becomes less fertile, and plants struggle to grow. 

Soil erosion can also worsen flooding, both because deteriorating soil struggles to hold on to water and because of soil movement — if eroded sediment flows into nearby rivers, it can clog up waterways and threaten aquatic habitats. 

Bacteria, fertilizers and pesticides, which pollutes freshwater sources for wildlife, may get carried as well.

Luckily, Redditors were quick to jump to the rescue with rewilding ideas that could replenish the original poster's soil and provide a low-maintenance, eco-friendly solution while helping pollinators.  

The key, as one pointed out, is to grow "deep rooted plants like trees and shrubs," which hold the soil in place. 

One commenter suggested creeping juniper. "It goes dormant, but the roots are still clinging to dirt," they wrote.

Otherwise, they continued, perennial grasses, like buffalo grass, could do the trick: "Perennial native grasses die back; however, their roots are still active."

Another commenter added tips for creating a mycelium network, which would help wildflowers to grow more easily in the soil. 

"Buy some jute netting for erosion control," they said. "Line the hill with hay or mulch and lay down the jute on top. Press it into the earth with landscape pins or broken branches. Then sow with native wildflowers. Then you can plant trees and shrubs to hold everything together."

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