Submitted to: Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2001
Publication Date: March 6, 2000
Citation: RITCHIE, J.C., KEMPER, W.D., ENGLERT, J.M., KRIZEK, D.T. GRASS HEDGES FOR EROSION CONTROL. EASTERN NATIVE GRASS SYMPOSIUM. 2000.
Grass hedges are widely used in the tropics to reduce soil loss. In studies at Beltsville, Maryland, Miscanthus and eastern gamagrass were used to establish hedges on the contour across swale areas. Quantitative data from these studies show that these hedges act as filters to slow and broaden the water flow area, resulting in ponding that increases settling times for entrained material to be deposited in the low areas. Deposition rates measured using field surveys 1991, 1995, and 1998 were 1-2 cm/yr up slope from these hedges. Grass hedges can be an alternative conservation practice for reducing soil loss and dispersing runoff from areas of erosion in agricultural fields. However, grass hedges should not be seen as panacea, but as another tool in the arsenal to control soil loss and runoff. Continued efforts to control soil loss at the point of detachment are critical. The NRCS has developed a Conservation Practice Standard for using grass hedges for runoff and sediment control. While Miscanthus is effective as a grass hedge, indigenous grasses should be used when possible to reduce the potential for the introduction of exotic material into new environments.