Erosion Control

Outdoors

Georgia, along with much of the southeastern US, don’t have a positive past with erosion. Repetitive
cropping of cotton in the piedmont resulted in seven inches of topsoil being washed away into the
ocean. Soil takes hundreds of years to create, meaning that the loss of soil is something that will be
felt for generations. By the 1950s, new policies and programs began to change Georgia from endless
cotton fields to forestland and other uses that are less susceptible to erosion. In the mountains, there is
always a threat of erosion if we aren’t proactive with protecting our landscape. Let’s talk about why we
should care about erosion and some things that you can do to make sure that your land isn’t eroded
away.

With the high amount of rainfall that we receive in the mountains, erosion caused by water is the
biggest concern that we have, so I’ll focus on that. Erosion is also caused by wind and gravity. According
to the US Department of Agriculture, 2 billion tons of topsoil are lost each year in the US because of
erosion. The topsoil is the most nutrient-rich part of the soil, and so plants rely heavily on it for growth.
Therefore, losing topsoil is going to reduce your plant growth. Erosion can also lead to water quality
issues. Not only does the topsoil muddy up our lakes and rivers, but also the nutrients that the topsoil is
carrying can create algal blooms leading to decreased aquatic life. That is bad news for our lakes and the
fish that inhabit them. Erosion can also create a hardpan that will repel water and increases surface
runoff.

So let’s talk about what you can do to reduce erosion. Firstly, construction makes soil very susceptible to
erosion. Removing all the vegetation from the top of the soil leaves it open to the rainfall. Whenever
possible in construction, surround the project site with hay bales and silt fences, preserve the already
existing vegetation, and keep any piles of loose vegetation or gravel covered.

Keep stream banks covered with vegetation and trees. Those plant roots will solidify that stream bank so
that the natural erosion process will be slowed down. It will keep the stream from widening. In gardens
and around the home use mulch or compost when possible to protect bare soil. This will improve water
infiltration into the soil and reduce runoff.

Minimizing impermeable surfaces such as the driveway or walkway on your property will also reduce
erosion. Obviously, you will need some impermeable surfaces at your property, such as a roof for your
house. For cases like that, it’s important to design pathways for the water from those impermeable
surfaces to travel so that they can be deposited in a rain garden or pond. Rain gardens collect water
to allow the water to infiltrate back into the soil instead of having it run downhill. Usually, they have plants
that are adapted to living in damp soils.

If you have any questions about erosion or what you can do to prevent erosion at your property, please
contact your local Extension Office or send me an email at Jacob.Williams@uga.edu.

What is IPM?

Outdoors

IPM is a pretty big buzz phrase out there in agriculture right now. It stands for Integrated Pest
Management. Integrated means that you employ several different types of strategies. Pest in this case
can refer to insects, diseases, weeds, or any other thing out there that you don’t want messing with your
plants. Management is important. It’s not Integrated Pest Eradication. Management means that an
acceptable threshold is found for the pest. Depending on what the pest is and what type of damage its
doing affects what is an acceptable threshold. For example, the threshold for kudzu growing in a gully or
ditch will be much higher than kudzu encroaching on your yard.

Management in IPM comes by a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and chemical means. By
using a combination of these practices, the idea is that pests can be managed to minimize economic,
environmental, and public health risks. IPM is a long term management strategy where chemical control
is used as a last resort.

Biological control is using natural enemies of a pest for control. Ladybugs are an excellent example
because they eat a lot of other insects that feed on garden plants. Another example is that UGA is
conducting research on beetles that will control the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid that is ravaging our
hemlocks. Cultural controls can include watering practices. A lot of fungal diseases are encouraged by
wet conditions. Another example of cultural control is selecting disease resistant varieties to plant. An
example of mechanical control is using traps for rodents or other pests to remove them. Mulch to
prevent weeds from popping up is another example. Finally, chemical control involves spraying
pesticides. When pesticides are applied they are used only where needed. Selective pesticides that are
safest for the surrounding organisms are used.

Prevention of pest problems is a big part of IPM. When IPM is used on a large production scale
quantitative thresholds will be set so that chemical sprays are used only when necessary. Spraying
chemicals is not bad or disallowed when using IPM, you just try to much more conscientious of using
sprays and use them sparingly. There are times and situations when biological, cultural, and mechanical
aren’t effective and spraying is the only effective option of control available. The goal with IPM is to
reduce the reliance on chemical applications for successful control.

You may already be using IPM without even realizing it. Using mulch around flower beds or drip
irrigation to water can be IPM. If you have a fence around your garden to keep deer and other pests out
that is part of IPM. Some ways that you could improve your use of IPM could be spraying insecticides
when beneficial insects aren’t active. When planting look to see what disease resistance your seeds have
or use plants that are from our area, oftentimes those will have natural resistance and be adapted to
our climate.

The key to being successful with IPM is to be more conscientious of your surroundings and thinking long
term. If you have questions about IPM contact your local county Extension Office or send me an email at
Jacob.Williams@uga.edu.

Senator David Perdue Holds Farm Bill Round Table Discussion

State & National

Senator David Perdue Holds Farm Bill Round Table Discussion

ATLANTA, GA – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) last week held a round table discussion about the upcoming farm bill with Georgia farmers and industry leaders.

“Agriculture is one of Georgia’s largest economic drivers and a way of life for many people in our state. I saw this firsthand while working on my family’s farm as a teenager,” said Senator Perdue. “It was great to hear from Georgia farmers and industry leaders about their priorities for the upcoming farm bill since this legislation impacts them directly. Their input is critical as we work toward developing a farm bill that will contribute to a safer, stronger, and more abundant agricultural industry.”

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