Landscapers often encounter obvious and not so obvious slopes in commercial and residential lawns and landscapes. These slopes are prone to erosion, which not only results in an unsightly lawn profile, but can also result in various problems, including washing away valuable topsoil and the runoff of pesticides into storm drains and waterways, potentially polluting drinking water and harming aquatic wildlife.
How to deal with slopes has as much to do with the degree of slope and accessibility of equipment as it does the location. Different states have different regulations regarding erosion control, so it's important to have a knowledge of state and local guidelines as well as EPA regulations before bidding on a job.
“In a bidding economy where margins are slim and penalties are shared by contractual obligation, an EPA fine can be the end of a company,” says Austin D. Edwards, president of Emerald Inc., in Elk Grove, Calif.
“It's better to do the right thing and comply with the law than to get a fine.”
Natural and human influences.
Erosion is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is often initiated and/or made worse by human influences. In nature, it's influenced mostly by wind, rain and spring runoff. Human-caused erosion can be traced to the use of heavy equipment for different construction projects. Erosion can also be caused by a simple case of neglect, e.g., not providing the proper vegetation to control and prevent it.
Mudslides and the wholesale washing away of plants and soil are an obvious, if not extreme, example of soil erosion. However, don't rule out the more subtle signs of erosion – exposed tree roots, soil accumulating at the bottom of a slope and the splashing of soil on objects in the landscape.