Hydroseeding Helps Make Defensible Space Less Prone To Landslides

If you've just bought a home that's on a slope that the previous owners have ignored, you know how important it is to clear the land underneath your property (meaning the portion of the slope right next to your yard) of brush to create "defensible space." This is space that helps protect your home in case of a brush fire. However, clearing the land completely creates a landslide and erosion risk. The solution is to plant a mix of native grasses and shrubs, along with a few trees, to help keep the land in place while remaining fire-resistant. Hydroseeding can help you quickly fill in the empty dirt once any problematic brush has been cleared.

Hydroseeding Help

In hydroseeding, seeds are mixed with a nutrient-rich mixture, called a slurry, that makes the seeds stick to the hillside. The slurry is sprayed onto the land in a thin layer. The nutrients act as fertilizer, making the seeds grow very quickly. Hydroseeding needs to be done by a professional because it needs specialized equipment -- not to mention that very steep slopes are not areas where you want to be playing around. The process is fast, though, so you won't have to spend a lot of time waiting for the hydroseeding company to finish up.

Once the seed mixture is in place, you'll have to stick to a care schedule that the hydroseeding company should provide. Do not neglect the seeds -- even native, drought-resistant plants need some care. Before having the mixture sprayed on, find out from the hydroseeding company what sort of watering system the plants will need. You might have to call in an irrigation company to have them install drip irrigation tubes that stretch down the hillside.

Fire-Resistant Isn't the Same as Unable to Burn

Get clear on this now: all plants have some risk of burning. There are no magical plants that don't burn at all, providing your home with a completely safe barrier. However, there are plants that are less prone to going up in flames quickly. Iceplant is a great example of a low groundcover that doesn't catch fire easily.

However, iceplant -- which is ubiquitous in fire-prone areas like California -- is heavy. And if the natural disaster du jour is heavy rain, the iceplant can add to the landslide problem because the weight of the plant can drag down the soil. Lighter plants that don't leave a lot of dead material are better.

Sticky Seeds

But these smaller, lighter plants need to cover the ground, and getting the seeds onto the slope can be difficult unless you can somehow get them on there quickly and make them stick. This is where hydroseeding comes in. The sticky slurry mixture adheres to the slope and doesn't slide down.

Customizable Mixes

Fire-resistant, native plants that are suitable for erosion control vary from region to region. They can include grasses and wildflowers, along with smaller shrubs. Local hydroseeding companies will have more information on which mixes work best for your region; Colorado State University Extension says these can include groundcovers or grasses like Arizona fescue or Indian ricegrass. But remember that you'll have to care for the plants, so be sure that anything you plant on steep areas doesn't need a lawnmower. For steeper areas, as the hydroseeding company about slow-growing succulents or wildflowers. Contact a company like Bark Blowers & Hydroseeding Inc for more information.