Erosion control

Vetiver offers solutions to erosion due to flooding, slips and poor drainage. It works in virtually any soil type including clay, rock and sand.

It had been used for centuries in India, for decades around the world and with thousands of successful plantings over the last 15 years in New Zealand. Government, agricultural and scientific studies show Vetiver to be 100% effective. We know that the “VETIVER SYSTEM” stops erosion.

How it works to stop erosion: Two Way Action
  1. The ground is locked in by the complex, deep, strong, fibrous root system. When correctly planted as a hedge these roots bind with the earth and form an interlocked, incredibly strong underground wall preventing ground movement.
  2. The above ground Vetiver hedge slows or stops surface runoff. The hedge traps particles and the large roots and dense foliage allow controlled drainage.


vetiver rootsThe Root Cause

Vetiver roots can penetrate to 2 metres in their first year. They will later penetrate 4 to 6 metres in virtually any soil. Above ground the plant can grow to 1.2 metres high and 600 – 900mm wide and with the roots below ground also about 600 to 900mm wide. Correctly planted and installed, Vetiver’s deep roots mean you don’t need to irrigate this plant.

Virtually maintenance free. Vetiver offers a fast, natural, permanent solution to protecting your property. A low cost solution when compared to alternatives.


What makes it different

Vetiver is unique.
Vetiver stops erosion with a hedge just one plant wide.
Vetiver is non-invasive – it will not turn into a weed.
Vetiver is drought and frost tolerant.
Vetiver can survive floods, windstorms, fire, grazing animals and other forces of nature.
Vetiver is a very tough and hardy plant.
Vetiver does not compete seriously with neighbouring crop plants for moisture or nutrients.
Vetiver can grow in many soil types including sand, gravels, and clay.
Acidity, alkalinity, salinity and most contaminated soils are no problem.
Low / no maintenance.
Vetiver has no known pests or diseases.
Vetiver controls weeds (when blanket planted).
We know Vetiver lives for at least 200 years.
Vetiver does not mind lengthy submergence and is suitable for the edges of dams, ponds, rivers and bridge abutments.
Generally Vetiver will grow throughout temperate New Zealand from about Hawkes Bay or Taranaki northwards.
It can grow in south South Island environments. Phone us for more information about this.

And apart from all of the above Vetiver grass also makes a fast, attractive, tropical looking low maintenance hedge.


Vetiver is ideal for:

  • Road side slopes
  • Coastal slopes
  • Dams
  • Bridge abutments
  • River and stream sidings
  • Exposed earth worked areas
  • Agricultural erosion control
  • Hills and cliffs – landslide control


Particle Catchment

The hardy, tough, 600 to 900mm wide base of a Vetiver hedge is very good at trapping particles. Vetiver does not mind if silts and soils are built up behind it. Vetiver adjusts naturally. In extreme cases vetiver can build a 2 metre high wall behind it, forming a terrace.

Around New Zealand and especially here in Northland our rivers, harbours and inlets are filling up with silt, soils and agricultural runoff. A row of this grass across critical watersheds would reduce or stop silt build-up down stream. Large plantings would be required but it may be that the expense would be far outweighed by the financial and environmental benefits from saving our precious waterways.



Retaining Walls

Retaining walls made of treated wood (as most are in New Zealand) are very expensive and are full of contaminants. And they may only last 25 years!

In many applications, Vetiver can provide a much better solution. But even if you have to use a retaining wall, back-planting with Vetiver will strengthen the installation and may reduce the amount of engineering required. And when your retaining wall finally needs replacement vetiver will have been long established and will have bound your wall tight, all the time removing the heavy metals and toxins left by the wood treatment. At the same time the Vetiver hedge stops surface runoff and the roots draw moisture away from the wall.

There is great peace of mind in having the combined strength of man-made and natural retaining systems. Plus Vetiver lives at least 200 years (and counting).


erosion controlCoastal / Beach Erosion

Lately our exposed coast has been severely damaged by extreme storm surges. After decades of coastal plantings we know vetiver is the most cost effective way to provide the most protection.

Why is Vetiver ideal for coast erosion?

  1. Above ground, the dense, tough, up to 900mm wide vetiver hedge can withstand heavy wave action, taking the power out of the wave erosion.
  2. Below ground the dense deep root network has high root tensile strength. This combines with the earth to stop erosion.
  3. A hydrophyte, vetiver can snorkel air from its above water parts. Should it become submerged vetiver can survive for many weeks underwater.
  4. Vetiver does not mind living in polluted areas. It is tolerant of saline (salt) conditions on its roots however it is not fond of constant, heavy salt water on its leaves. Talk to us if this is an issue.
  5. A permanent solution. Not only is vetiver known to live over 200 years it can self adjust to changing environments as time goes by. Vetiver usually requires no maintenance.
  6. Constructed, man made solutions such as wood or brick are expensive, time consuming to install and often environmentally toxic. In the end static, man made solutions often end up failing against the dynamic forces of nature and can leave us with environmental issues. The Vetiver System has a natural dynamic and is designed to work with nature.
  7. Vetiver is relatively easy to install and it is aesthetically pleasing.

Vetiver is perfect for sand dune control. Test after test has proven that vetiver stops sand movement. Small grasses often lose the fight. Vetiver is a serious grass ready for a serious job.

It would be nice if there was a native plant that came close to the performance of vetiver grass but there is nothing that has all the above qualities.

Before a coastal installation like this is instigated it is highly recommended that you receive the right advice. Please call me for a chat. Your success is our success.

Storm water control

Tried and proven. Vetiver grass is used for flood control mitigation because it is tough above and below ground. Vetiver does not mind lengthy submergence. When installed correctly vetiver is very good at slowing and directing flood water and of course stopping the erosion it can cause. Barriers or hedges of vetiver grass planted in geometric or natural patterns such as chevrons or contour hedges reinforce the dynamic processors of water flow and sediment deposition.

There are many ways you can apply vetiver to flood solutions. An established hedge can act as a impermeable dam to direct or slow water.

This system is ideal for all flood prone risk zones. Again I highly recommend calling me to ensure your success.