Supplying grasses for your regenerative projects

Protecting soil from loss is one of the most important things to manage in any ecological works. While there are many methods dependent on needs, using simple grasses planted with the correct techniques is a cheap and effective way to reduce soil erosion which has flow-on benefits for any area from improved habitat through to water filtering, biomass, and carbon sequestration.

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Plants we use

A diverse strata of plants, encompassing all layers of a forest is ideal, but to build a basic framework of soil protection and to simplify, we have narrowed the list down to two of the best plants. These were chosen as they grow well in subtropical to tropical climates and cover from full sun to full shade dependent on the location. They are easy to propagate and extremely hardy in the harshest of conditions.

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Vetiver

Chrysopogon zizanioides

Chrysopogon zizanioides (Vetiver or formerly known as Vetiveria zizanioides).

A sterile, clumping grass to 2m high and 1m wide usually used specifically in an unbroken hedgerow system for erosion control. The extremely deep vertical roots and stiff stems can slow water and force silt out behind it, backing up soil and growing from higher nodes over time. Some hedges are at least 40 years old and have created 2m high terraces behind them.

Fast-growing, very drought-tolerant, frost-tolerant, salt-tolerant, water-tolerant, pH range-tolerant, heavy metal-tolerant, will regenerate from the crown after a fire, and can be cut 2-3 times a year for bulk sterile mulch. The roots are aromatic and used for essential oil. Leaves can be used for fodder and roof thatching.

Good candidate for full sun regeneration as it will allow native plants to establish and when the Vetiver is shaded out, it will die therefore not crowding out native species in the long term. Vetiver can be planted within 50cm-1m of crops and will not compete due to the nature of the roots. Perfect for cuts, gullys, overflows, dam walls, or silt capture. It's possible to repel cane toads from water sources when planted effectively.

Can be used to clean nitrogen, phosphorous, metals from grey and black waste, either in bunds or floated on pontoons and grown hydroponically.

Requires specific planting/propagation techniques and at least 50% sun.

An extensive range of applications in photo form can be found here.

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Lomandra

Lomandra hystrix

Lomandra hystrix (Green or Creek Mat-Rush).

An Australian native 1.2m x 1m hardy grass (sedge) used extensively in landscaping and regeneration works. Is drought-tolerant, frost-tolerant, water-tolerant, sun-tolerant, shade-tolerant, fire-retardant, and will grow in most locations.

Its most important use is stabilising creekbanks against erosion and displacing many weed species with its tenacity. Useful and aesthetically-pleasing understory in any rainforest or garden planting. Can be planted several in a hole or grown on in larger containers. Fleshy part of the lower leaf can be eaten.

"You can never, repeat never, plant lomandras too thickly!" - 'Save Our Waterways Now' Planting Guide
"Lomandra spp. Matrushes, critically important stabilisers, impossible to overplant" - 'The Creek in our backyard' by Robert Whyte

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