The National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory

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Additional Wind Erosion Protection

Mulch - Mulch, a type of protective covering which is in direct contact with the ground, provides more protection than canopy cover. It can vary from straw, to compost, to wood chips, or saw dust. Spread evenly onto the ground, mulch helps to reduce water evaporation, control weeds, and enrich the soil. It is also significant in protecting soil where vegetation has not had ample time to establish itself. By absorbing the destructive forces of raindrops and wind, mulch reduces erosion until the the seedlings mature enough to provide their own protective cover.

Soil Moisture - Wind erosion is directly related to how wet or saturated a soil is. A moist soil is much more stable than a dry one because the water seems to cement the soil particles together. Under these circumstances, then, wind would prove to be much more destructive in dry, arid regions than in wet, moist areas. Thus, by occasionally wetting the soil, wind erosion can be controlled.

Reducing Field Width - Wind erosion increases directly with field length or width. As soil particles bounce and skip along the surface their erosive capabilities seem to compound, or increase with distance. Thus, by decreasing or breaking up the length of a field, one can cut down on wind erosion.

Strip Cropping - Strip cropping is a very effective and inexpensive method for controlling soil erosion. Strip cropping is a combination of contouring and crop rotation in which alternate strips of row crops and soil conserving crops (sods) are grown on the same slope, perpendicular to the wind or water flow. When soil is detached from the row crops by the forces of wind or water, the dense soil conserving crops trap some of the soil particles and reduce wind translation and/or runoff.

Wind Breaks - Wind breaks can be both living or inanimate objects. They can range from trees and shrubs, to fences and concrete walls. When positioned perpendicular to the wind, wind breaks will deflect the wind stream and reduce wind velocity. By reducing wind velocities, evaporation will be slowed and a more favorable environment will be provided for the crops.


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