6 Tips on Repairing Soil Erosion

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Soil erosion is a common problem and one that can damage a farm greatly. Sustainable farming options are often a solution to this and they allow the farm to repair the eroded soil and to remain profitable long after the problem has come about.

This isn’t to say that it’s easy to do so. The process usually takes time and is done in stages and can take a while depending on how damaged the soil was in the first place.

Why it’s important to prevent and repair gullies?

Gullies are a dangerous and expensive phenomena and you should do your best to both prevent them and cure their effects once they have already formed. The gullies are hazardous for wildlife, livestock and people that spend time on the farm.

They are also damaging because they collect and move water away from landscapes where they are most needed and where eco-systems rally on them. They also move the top soil which is the most nutritious and most needed by the plant life. In the end, they grow and will continue to do so, unless you do something about it.

How they are formed?

The gullies are formed when enough surface water concentrates in a flow line with inadequate groundcover, resulting in scouring of soil until a deeper channel is formed. This starts with inadequate ground cover.  Once this happens gullies can spread downslope and upslope.

Severe instances can happen when there’s a severe gully erosion usually due to rainfall from storms and cyclones. This means that the problem will get worse when the climate change becomes more severe and these phenomena become more prominent in the parts of the world where they haven’t taken place before.

How to repair them

Repairing gullies needs to be done in phases and it depends on how severe the gullies are and when the cost of the actions you’ll need to take is prohibitive. It’s usually done in five steps:

-Diverting surface water from the gullies is the first measure to take in order to repair them and to return the soil to its use. It’s an essential first step and the one you can’t skip. Water moving to the gully should be moved or stopped completely in order to continue the work on the guile beyond that.

There are a few ways to do it and these include spreader banks immediately above the gully head to divert water to a stable waterway with a safe disposal area.

-Stabilize the eroding gully head is the next step you should take because not all of the gullies erode further than the head itself. An actively eroding gully head will need a drop structure, which can be a concrete flume, or built from sandbags or gabions.

The gullies in dispersive soils require additional management. These are mostly about keeping the walls of the gullies intact.

Machinery management for repairing large gullies

First and foremost, it’s important to know that you need to take safety precautions on the site since you may need to use heavy machinery in order to manage the gully and that can be hazardous due to the soil underneath you.

Graders are used to move large volumes of soil laterally when repairing long gullies. Bulldozers are more suited to large and complex gully head erosion. Graders or bulldozer operations should begin by deep-ripping the gully shoulders to a distance and depth depending on the depth of the gully and optimal batter length. Similar rules apply as they do for opening drains.

The importance of top soil

One of the best ways to prevent future problems with your soil is to have in mind how the topsoil portion of the gully needs to be treated. This is particularly important when the subsoil is infertile or dispersive.

If long stretches of gully are to be filled, it is best to split the gully repair into sections, spreading the topsoil from new sections onto areas previously filled. This minimizes the distance topsoil needs to be transported. Topsoil should also be pushed to the head of the gully for later spreading over the gully center.


Repairing gullies is an essential tool for farmers and something that you need to do when you notice that the soil is eroding. It can be a dangerous thing for the farm animals and for the people working the land. The soil is also of a lesser quality because of it.

The first step towards repairing the gully is to divert water from it. The next one may require you to set up the concrete walls and secure the walls of the guile by using heavy machinery. This is something to be done carefully since it’s a dangerous action to take on sensitive soil.