Grass hedges save soil and water
MetadataShow full item record
CTA. 1989. Grass hedges save soil and water. Spore 20. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45042
Hedges of Vetiver grass (Vetiver zizanioides) offer farmers a cheaper, easier and more effective way to stop soil erosion than soil bunds. They are also more efficient in reducing runoff. Vetiver grass (Khus in India), is being grown in several...
Hedges of Vetiver grass (Vetiver zizanioides) offer farmers a cheaper, easier and more effective way to stop soil erosion than soil bunds. They are also more efficient in reducing runoff. Vetiver grass (Khus in India), is being grown in several parts of the world but its usefulness has remained unrecognised. It has been grown in Karnataka State India, for 100 years, in the West Indies for the last 50 years, and in Fiji for 30 years. Now the World Bank and other organizations are beginning to support projects for its wider use. Studies of the grass have shown that it can grow over a wide range of climates and latitudes. From over 2000m in the Himalayas to the deserts of Rajasthan, and the wastelands of Andhra Pradesh, in fact anywhere between the latitudes 22 degrees north and south. It does not readily produce seed and in the wet tropics it will take five months to establish from <slips>. In arid areas it will take three seasons to get going. As long as it is planted during the rains, the <<slips>> can withstand 60 days without further rain. As Vetiver grass does not readily seed, it will not spread sideways. Its roots go straight down and so do not compete with adjacent crops, neither does it harbour any pest and diseases that can spread to crops. A 50cm wide strip of Vetiver grass slows water run-off, filters out the silt and allows excess water to ooze through the entire length of the hedge, rather than concentrate in one spot. In Fiji, where the grass has been planted on 50% slopes, terraces three to four metres wide have been formed by the silt retained by the grass. Normally all this soil would have been lost. In other places farmers have been able to crop land with 45 degree slopes, something that would have been impossible with normal soil conservation techniques. In Karnataka, farmers keep their hedges of Vetiver grass cut down to 30 to 50cm; they feed the cut grass to their cattle. For more details, contact: World Bank New Delhi POBox 416 New Delhi 110 003 INDIA