Turf Australia, a not-for-profit body comprising of 240 levy paying growers nation-wide, partnered with Horticulture Australia to fund the Erosion and Sediment Control Demonstration Facility, in Redlands, QLD.
The facility demonstrates research findings from a two year study by Dr Robert Loch, assessing the effectiveness of turf in combating soil erosion and controlling sediment run-off, compared to other materials currently being used in construction.
“Erosion control is essential in keeping the ground from moving during heavy rainfall. This occurs when bare ground is exposed, leaving nothing to prevent the earth from literally washing away,” says Turf Australia president, John Keleher.
“This is an issue right across the country. Homeowners risk losing parts of their land to the effects of soil erosion and communities face contaminated waterways and streams. The building and construction industry, local government planners and landscape industry professionals must ensure sustainable measures are put in place,” he says.
The facility simulates overland waterflow of 200 mm / hr, showing the movement of sediment following heavy rainfall events. In an unsurfaced area of 80m2, the equivalent size of the average backyard, 484 kilograms of sediment is lost.
The demonstration shows natural turf is more effective than any other material, such as silt fencing, hydro mulch, silt socks and coir logs. In heavy rainfall, natural turf proved to be one hundred times more effective in preventing erosion than bare soil, also proving to be crucial tool for sediment control.
“Sediment control slows down and stops dirt that has already moved, while preventing pollutants such as pesticides and excess fertilisers from entering our streams and waterways,” says Keleher.
Government regulations recognise the importance of soil erosion and sediment control measures, issuing hefty fines for not meeting these regulatory requirements.
“It’s important that the construction industry, local governments and landscape professionals recognise cheaper, artificial options are a false economy, requiring ongoing replacement and maintenance,” says Keleher.
“Natural turf should be recognised as much more than an aesthetic contribution to property development. It is the most natural, sustainable and effective solution to prevent soil erosion,” he said.
Building and construction groups, as well as corporate bodies are encouraged to attend the facility to see the research in action and gain an understanding of the importance of turf in property development. The facility hosts open days, and private events can be booked through the Turf Australia website; www.turfaustralia.com.au.