Erosion results in precious topsoil winding up in waterways rather than gardens.

Chicken Wire to Control Erosion

by Sarah Moore

With so much else on your plate, erosion can be a frustrating nuisance to combat in the garden. Although you have several options, such as digging runoff channels or planting groundcovers to combat topsoil loss, one of the fastest ways to stop it in its tracks is to use a material like chicken wire to hold soil in place.

In Ditches

Many yards, especially larger ones, rely on ditches to collect rainwater runoff and transport it out of the yard. If your ditch has an erosion problem, however, soil may slide into it and create messy, muddy overflows. Control erosion by lining the sides of the ditch, especially where it curves, with chicken wire to keep soil up. You can do this by sinking posts into the ditch bed, about 4 feet deep and 8 feet apart, then stapling chicken wire to these posts. If your erosion problem is especially bad or water travels quickly, staple down hog wire before the chicken wire.

In Ponds or Water Features

Chicken wire is sometimes used in coastal areas to help keep erosion in check. If you have a pond or large body of water on your property and want to establish aquatic plants along the edge, you may need to create a small protective zone for them while they get established. Create a break using chicken wire attached to stakes, placing the first fence a few feet out from the shore, situating the plants, and then installing the second fence at the shoreline.

Protective Fencing

Plants are one of the best ways to control erosion because their roots absorb water that could carry away soil and also help anchor it to the ground. If, however, you are having trouble getting your plants to grow because of troublesome animals, you should consider protective chicken wire fencing. When planting young trees whose trunks need protection from animals that chew or rub the bark, a chicken wire wrap can do the trick -- just remove it before the tree grows too large and strangles. Chicken wire can also protect areas where native plants or groundcovers are taking root.

Plants Along Banks

Slightly different than protecting specimens planted underwater, using chicken wire to protect plants along the sides of a stream above the waterline pins down protective mulch to help plants get established. Eventually the plants will perform the erosion control services themselves, but until they are firmly rooted in the ground, you want to ensure that neither they nor their mulch is washed away.

About the Author

Sarah Moore has been a writer, editor and blogger since 2006. She holds a master's degree in journalism.

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