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Some months ago, I planted vetiver grass around a swale in the building site garden. My hope was to slow rainwater runoff. Here is the result.

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Comment by Dave Riley on February 16, 2020 at 0:38

I don't like ruling on bio engineering issues as I don't have the background. With Vetiver I aim to be a nurseryman and I'm currently negotiating certification with the internatioanl body..

But this site (check out details) is an interesting exercise in slope stabilisation similar to many Brisbane suburban slopes.

I may be  a bit over designed but the logic is clear. The climate is relatable as it's in Southern California -- although the plants are in full sun.

Note that the slope is covered in fill -- not a purely natural rise, so it will definitely slip and erode.

My suggestion would be to begin this process in sections and as each tier contour consolidates, create another hedge lower down.

I find that if you take your time by staggering your interventions, you get to understand the site better.

Also note the numbers used in hedge planting -- at  fist width apart. In this image below there are around 200 plants. If you do your sums and compare the financial cost of other engineering options with Vetiver, the initial outlay in energy and money makes sense. Say, $150-200.

Now if you proceeded in sections over time and grew your own reserve division stock, we are talking el cheapo landscaping...You could, of course,  just purchase more slips as you go.

If your slope already contains bushes or trees, there may be a shade factor which would slow down the growth of  your Vetiver hedges. Don't rush to clear them as that obviously would serve to encourage erosion.

Leave any 'weeds' in too but mulch heavily over them for the same reason.

Comment by Dave Riley on February 15, 2020 at 17:47

The key property of Vetiver that makes it so suitable for bioengineering is that the plant's roots go a long way straight down .

We're talking up to >2 metres of a concentrated root mesh.

So the soil is held in place. As the plant grows -- and if grown in a closely planted hedge --you'll get build up along the contour as the plants grow. You can plant Lomandra or Dianella with Vetiver but the Vetiver will be the plant that will colonise the slope or soil and prevent erosion.

It will also grow much more quickly than the natives. BUT it is sterile.

Indeed Vetiver is planted on some very sharp slopes like 50 -70 degrees --thus preventing mud or landslides or rock falls.

It may look something like Lomandra -- such as for landscaping -- but it is taller and can be readily cut back. I think councils and the DMR should be growing Vetiver instead of Lomandra in some public space situations.

As these images indicate...

Comment by GayleD on February 15, 2020 at 0:21

Would this work with Lomandra or Dianella instead of vetiver?

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on February 14, 2020 at 13:28

Cheers everybody.  
I'm already inspecting the plants for potential division, Dave.  They are clumping nicely.  

Comment by Sophie on February 14, 2020 at 10:44


Comment by Dave Riley on February 14, 2020 at 10:05

Don't forget to seize the day at some stage and divide some Vetiver for further planting out.

Lesson there: when planting Vetiver for a particular role plant some more elsewhere so you will always have a nursery reserve you can divide from.

Aside from the rivulet in question, your verge garden and above that behind the wall will also work as Vetiver sites. The house side with the water ingress from the neighbours  may be worth considering too. Reserach suggests that because the roots go straight down planting plants -- even veges and herbs, fruit trees too -- among the Vetiver increases growth rate.

And you get to cut it for mulch.

Comment by Christa on February 13, 2020 at 22:19

The water pours down our driveway like a river.  The back yard is a bit mushy at the moment.  Others must have the same problem.

Andy, that little pond looks good, frogs may croak soon.  

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on February 13, 2020 at 19:54

Cheers Dave!  I have to admit that I was a sceptic but I'm amazed and happy with the result.  It will turn that garden completely around. 
Not only does it solve a problem Dianne, but it improves the existing dry patch. 

Comment by Dave Riley on February 13, 2020 at 12:50

There you go. You are part of the Vetiver family: LINK

Comment by Dave Riley on February 13, 2020 at 12:10

I think that what you have done, Andy, is an important fix-it for so many Brisbane suburban properties that are built on rolling hills. Not only do so many blocks suffer from  cascades during heavy rain, but the run off through the local catchment creates flood conditions further downstream.

What used to be natural flow and seepage is now blocked by  brick houses, paths and roadways with less native vegetation dealing with any water in situ.

You can also see how the V-grass engineering encourages the absorption of water  -- a feature relevant to any garden designed for water saving.

Also planting Vetiver won't bust a gut like earth moving/digging can.

Every home should have one...their own Vetiver hedge.

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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

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