Stabilising slopes and banks is becoming more crucial than ever. It is becoming more frequent to see properties being built close to steep slopes or banks. It is very important to ensure the task of stabilising slopes and banks is completed if your house is located near a slope.
If you are at all unsure it would be best to contact a geo-engineer for expert advice. One factor they are likely to consider is the existing ground cover and how that will impact the bank stability. This blog discusses vegetation on stabilising slopes and banks and how this can affect its stability.
Vegetation Plays a large Role in Stabilising Slopes and Banks
Vegetation on slopes can play a large role in the stability of its structure. The roots can help to hold the soils together, the branches and leaves can be a barrier against surface erosion, and moisture levels in the soil can be regulated by the demands for water by the plants. However, large trees situated on unstable banks can be a risk for falling over in strong wind or rain conditions, compromising the stability of the bank.
Contact an arboricultural consultant for assessment
If you have a slope with mature trees it can be a good idea to have an arboricultural consultant have a look to assess the tree. They will be able to advise on the likelihood of tree failure and offer up some solutions. It can be a bad idea to remove any hazardous trees in one go if this means the bank will be left bare before new plants can be established. A better solution may be to phase the transformation by performing staged removals or pruning. You can also simultaneously plant suitable replacement species, to ensure constant vegetation coverage is maintained throughout the project.
As a general rule it is best to have low growing plants with fibrous root systems.
Flaxes and other native grasses can be ideal for this purpose; the strong root system holds the bank together, there is no risk of them blowing over due to their size. The planting does not need to be boring. By selecting a range of suitable species you can a variety of sizes, colours and textures that is very pleasing to the eye. Using native plants will encourage wildlife into your garden transforming what may have been a wildlife desert into an oasis.
Stabilising Slopes and Banks with a Specialist Tree Company
Slopes and banks can be dangerous sites to work on. It’s important to choose a specialist tree company that is trained and experienced in working on these types of site. You can check this by looking at their website or by asking them what training they have and what safety standards they work to. It may be difficult or unsafe for you to access the site once the job is finished so it is vital you use a company that you trust to do an exact and thorough job in order to give you piece of mind.
For more information about suitable plants for stabilising banks follow the following links:
- Coastal Clay Banks
- Stabilising characteristics of native plants
- Naturally Native’s Online Plant Catalogue
- Use of Plants for Ground Bioengineering and Erosion & Sediment Control in New Zealand