Using Sweet Gum Balls to Prevent Erosion

Sweet Gum Balls, Uncategorized, | Mar 27, 2024
sweet gum balls for erosion control


Did you know you can use sweet gum balls to help prevent erosion? The most common erosion solution is called riprap, which is made up of large angular rocks that can be placed in a particular way, fitting together to collect debris and soil. The idea of using sweet gum balls instead was brought to our attention by one of our loyal customers, so now we’re sharing it with you. He writes, “I’ve had an 18″ Sweet Gum Ball Harvester for a couple of years. I run it 3-4 times a year and it is a great product. Needing a solution aside, the reason I bought it was the number of reviews I saw on the Internet that said, “I put off buying it for years because of the price. I finally broke down and bought one. I shouldn’t have waited!” So I didn’t wait. ;-)”.

He went on to share a great way to utilize the sweet gum balls collected. He believes garden waste should be reused whenever possible and it bothered him to throw out ten 50 gallon bags of sweet gum balls, but what could he do with them? After doing some research, he discovered there was some credibility for using those spiky balls in place of riprap to help prevent erosion. “There are two creeks on my property, and both have erosion problems. I noticed how the spiky balls interlock, they also looked like they would dig into the ground, hang onto each other, and capture silt and other debris. Based on university studies they are a really good solution for erosion mitigation. Spiky balls are almost as good as riprap for erosion control!”

This is a great way to make use of something that would otherwise be thrown away and help with an ongoing issue. Erosion is an agricultural problem because it removes nutrient dense topsoil, which is in short supply these days. It also can cause flooding because over time, water and wind carry away soil and debris. This may create thick layers on the bottom of rivers, making it more difficult for the water to flow smoothly.

So, the next time you find yourself with an excess of sweet gum balls, see if you can put them to good use and prevent erosion!

Special thanks to Frank Peel for reaching out and sharing this great idea with us!

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