Natural Slope Stabilization PT.2


Have you ever heard of NATURAL slope stabilization methods and the amazing wonders of the Vetiver plant? While many may believe that huge, thick, concrete retaining walls are the only solutions to stabilize slopes, there's a not so new alternative which is quickly gaining a lot of attention here in Trinidad and Tobago; a solution which is natural, eco-friendly, easily installed and a fraction of the cost of a typical concrete retaining wall.

A good example of Vetiver grass in slope stabilisation along a highway in Malaysia

I have always known this plant as the 'Khush' grass which was brought to Trinidad from India by the East Indians. This was one of the plants they brought down with them and is considered sacred. It was used mainly in the Hindu religious prayers done for the deceased. We have always had these in abundance growing near our homes and those of my relatives, and it was not until I realized that slope protection was necessary for the property of the soon to be RegenVast Smart Living Home, that further research into this incredible plant was done.

SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT VETIVER GRASS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW-

1. It is fast growing with a finely structured root system which can reach a depth of between 2m to 3m in the first year!

2. It is resilient - It is well suited for places which experience drought or low periods of rainfall such as in the dry season.

3. It has a mean tensile strength of 75MPa equivalent to one sixth the strength of mild steel. This value can range though from 40-180 MPa!

4. It helps in not only soil stabilization, but in helping to restore water in the soil assisting in the overall restoration of land.

5. Because their stems are stiff and erect, dense hedges of this grass can stand up to relatively deep water flow and reduce flow velocity, diverting runoff water and forming a very effective filter.

6. It has a high level of tolerance to soil acidity, salinity, sodicity and acid sulfate conditions, (Le and Truong 2003) therefore it can grow and thrive in almost any soil conditions.

7. It is tolerant to extreme climatic variation such as prolonged drought, flood, submergence and extreme temperature from -14 degrees celcius to to 55 degrees celcius .(Truong et al, 1996).

Vetiver grass roots (Credits:www.vetiverspain.com)

This plant is truly amazing and I like to think that it's one of the many gifts nature has given us in this world. So next time you have a project or know of someone who has land in need of stabilization or even restoration of water table,VETIVER should definitely be considered!!


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