How to Spot and Prevent Soil Erosion on Your Commercial Property

Ben Collinsworth

Soil erosion in Austin TexasThe foundation of a healthy commercial property is a nutrient-filled topsoil.

But one thing that can wash away any chance of having that is soil erosion, which occurs when water or wind remove the soil from an area.

Erosion is not only an eyesore on landscapes — causing gullies and muddy areas — but it can also be dangerous for the environment.

When soil is washed or blown away, so are the chemicals used on the ground, like pesticides and fertilizers. These can then make their way to other sections of the property where you don’t want them or even into a water supply.

With drought conditions followed by excessive rain in Texas, we’ve noticed this problem on several commercial properties already this year.

To help you spot and prevent erosion, here are things you need to know.


What Causes Soil Erosion?

Before you can look for the effects, you need to first understand what’s causing the erosion.

Drought conditions can also lead to soil erosion. When there’s a lack of rain and harsh temperatures, the ground will dry up, making it easier for wind to blow it away.

Rain can also cause erosion during a drought because the ground will be too hard and dry to absorb it quickly enough.

As the water hits the hard ground, it displaces the soil instead of going into the ground. When the soil is displaced, it will cause rivets in the ground and erosion.

Having too much water can cause erosion, as well. With the recent flash floods around Texas, the soil surface can be broken down and dispersed throughout the landscape. Rain is especially damaging when it falls in short durations at high intensities.

Besides leaving a physical mark on the ground, soil erosion can cause the landscape to lose nutrients that are found in the topsoil. That can affect the health of plants later installed.

Paths cut by erosion will also give water an easier path to flow through when it rains, which can lead to flooding.

To check if you have soil erosion on your commercial property before it becomes a major issue, pay attention to red flags.


Look for Signs

Soil erosion leaves behind several visible signs that you can watch for on your property.

Those include carved out areas in the ground (stream-like indentions), exposed roots, swampy areas or bare sections.

Check the property for areas where the topsoil has been blown or washed away. You can also look for soil pushed up against things like sidewalks or the building to see if it has been moved from its original location.


Preventive Steps to Take

Prevent soil erosion on your commercial propertyYou can decrease the chance of having soil erosion on your property by changing the grade and amount of vegetation.

Steep, long slopes increase the chances of erosion because water can travel faster and longer across them. So, level out the landscape if possible to help prevent water damage.

Adding plants and grass will also help reduce the amount of soil erosion you have on your landscape. The foliage will help protect the soil from rain and wind, and groundcovers are especially effective.

Plant roots allow water to move into the soil, instead of causing erosion. The roots also hold the soil in place so it isn’t washed or blown away as much.

You can also add mulch around your plants. Mulch will absorb some of the water and protect the soil from the elements.

If you have extreme slopes or are having trouble growing plants on the steep area, adding a retaining wall can help cut back on erosion, while adding an aesthetic element to the space. Barriers can be a good solution for slowing down water and preventing erosion.

Following a regular property maintenance schedule will also help you catch and prevent soil erosion issues.


Find a Professional

To keep your landscape healthy — and topsoil intact — you need to implement erosion-prevention strategies. These techniques will protect your property and the environment.

Adding vegetation and decreasing the property’s slope can make a huge impact and decrease the chance of erosion. That will help you keep your landscape healthy and also prevent soil and chemicals from spreading to unwanted areas.

To tackle your soil erosion issues, you need to hire a commercial landscape company with in-house water management and maintenance services.

Native Land Design has an experienced team who is ready to tackle all of your landscape needs.

Contact Native Land Design today so we can solve your soil erosion problems.

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Image Credit: SoilGround Cover

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Ben Collinsworth


Before Ben founded Native Land Design in 2001, he earned a Bachelor's degree in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University. He’s an active member of ASLA, HBA of Austin, NHBA, PLANET, and BOMA. Ben, his wife and their three children reside in the Cedar Park area.

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Native Land Design has reliably been servicing The Domain (Austin, TX) for four years and continue to be attentive and thorough in their care. We are extremely appreciative of their efforts and hope to have a long lasting relationship. We would recommend them to anyone looking for a solid commercial landscaping contractor.

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