Critical area plantings consist of grass or other vegetation that protects badly eroding areas from soil erosion.
How it helps...
It reduces soil erosion
A vegetated area improves water quality by reducing the amount of sediment, nutrients, and chemicals running off farmland
Protects areas such as dams, terrace back slopes, or gullied areas when vegetation may be difficult to establish
Vegetation can be planted to provide small areas of nesting cover for birds and small animals.
Other soil conservation measures may be needed above the critical area to ensure stabilization. Sometimes, other conservation practices will be sufficient to stabilize a badly eroding area.
Consider whether the area will serve as nesting cover, and select plantings accordingly. Native grasses and wildflowers add beauty and wildlife.
Bare slopes or areas disturbed during construction should be mulched to provide temporary protection.
Annual grasses may be needed until permanent vegetation is established. Consider oats or a similar nurse crop in severely eroded areas. (Mow oats before they head out and mow high to avoid clipping the permanent vegetation.)
Lime and fertilizer may be needed before planting.
Permanently exclude livestock from steep slopes.
In areas where grazing will be allowed, do not allow grazing for a year after planting, and prevent overgrazing once permanent cover is established.
Delay mowing until July 15 to protect ground-nesting birds.
Native grasses may benefit from periodic burning, which stimulates new growth and controls competing plants.