General Question

Ivan's avatar

What can we do to prevent a landslide?

Asked by Ivan (13479points) May 8th, 2009

I live near a small river. A couple of weeks ago, I was strolling along the banks and I noticed this on the other side of the river, a few hundred yards from our house. Today, I decided I would mosey on back to that spot, and this is what it looks like now. This is a picture of our deck and house. The past two summers, we have literally rappelled down that cliff and attempted to plant vegetation in order to sturdy the soil. However, nothing seems to want to grow there. There are a lot of rocks at the base of the cliff, which is good, but I still fear there is a risk or a slide. What can we do to prevent it?

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15 Answers

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

Short of bringing in new soil, planting things is all you can do. I would suggest planting some very hardy plants/trees (even if they’re typically unwanted breeds, like weeds) with deep growing roots, and fertilizing the bejesus out of them.

I’m not really a botanist so I can’t give you any suggestions on specific plants, but that’s really all you can do.

chyna's avatar

I see a lot of rocks covering the riverbanks here, so maybe that would be a solution. (just an observation, so I wouldn’t really know)

Ivan's avatar


Yes, there are plenty of rocks on the banks (the name of the river is “Stony Creek”), but there already are plenty of them at the base. Also, I can’t remember the name of the plant we tried to plant on the cliff, but apparently it was supposed to have a robust system of roots, and it didn’t grow either of the two times we tried.

Supacase's avatar

Try planting kudzu?

YARNLADY's avatar

Call the Corp of Engineers and ask them for help. They often place rip rap along the bank to help, or you can hire a company to do it for you.

chyna's avatar

@YARNLADY The rip rap is what I was talking about. It is all along the riverbanks in my city.

YARNLADY's avatar

While Kudzu was previously used by the Soil Conservation Service for erosion control, the plant was named a pest weed by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1953. It’s introduction is outlawed in some areas.

justwannaknow's avatar

It looks to be a sandy soil so that could present a problem with the right vegetation. Rip rap is your best solution trying to get it on the upstream side of your property. Follow that with river rock as the water can still go under most riprap and continue to erod. The river rock helps prevent this but can not be used alone or it too will be washed away.

Supacase's avatar

@YARNLADY I know kudzu is considered a pest. There is a lot of it where I live and it is extremely difficult to control. It could become an issue of be careful what you wish for, but I think I would prefer kudzu to having my house fall off the cliff.

YARNLADY's avatar

I tried to get some to plant on a slope at my previous residence, also, but I couldn’t find any. I also suggest bamboo, it grows fast and has the same type of root system. However, rip rap would be your best bet.

When I worked for the U S Forest Service, they used it extensively for fire prevention and soil erosion prevention.

Stanley's avatar

Agree with Yarnlady. Get some engineering help.

Darwin's avatar

Depending on where you are you could also try honeysuckle or trumpet vine. Both of those are rapid growers and as far as I know neither have been outlawed anywhere. Bamboo I believe has been considered a pest in some places.

The highway department uses some sort of “fabric” with grass seed embedded in it. If there is enough sun that might work.

augustlan's avatar

On the steep sides of a creek in my old home town, they’ve actually used the rip rap, and covered it with some kind of meshy stuff similar to chicken wire.

Mrs_Hill91's avatar

thats a really good question

threekings's avatar

get a professional, man. this is way too serious.

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