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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131620629,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: 10.13031/aim.20131620629) @2013
Authors:   Eatedal Alqusaireen, Sandy Mehlhorn, Barbara Darroch
Keywords:   erosion, sweet gum ball trees, riprap, sod, erosion control, soil conservation

Abstract. Soil erosion is a concern that affects agriculture, wildlife and bodies of water. Soil erosion can be avoided by maintaining a protective cover on the soil, creating a barrier to the erosive agent, or by modifying the landscape to control runoff amounts and rates. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of three erosion control treatments on rill erosion of a sloped area. Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) fruit (sweetgum balls) were compared to riprap and sod to determine their effectiveness in controlling erosion, compared to a control (no treatment). A randomized complete block design with three blocks was used. The study was conducted on a Loring silt loam and eroded soil at The University of Tennessee at Martin campus between February and October of 2012. Twelve rills were created to simulate erosion channels on a hillside of 4.3% slope. Visual observation and before-after measurement of the rills were used to evaluate the erosion levels of each treatment based on changes of the rills’ shapes and amount of sedimentation. SAS was used to conduct analyses of variance on before-after measurements of the rills’ depths and widths. Visual observations were consistent through all blocks for each treatment. Results indicated that the sod was the most effective erosion treatment followed by the riprap, and then by the sweetgum balls. Statistical analysis showed a significant difference in the means among the erosion control treatments for some measurements. There was significantly (P<0.05) less erosion (as measured by rills’ depth and width) in the sweetgum ball treatment than in the control; therefore sweetgum balls are an acceptable treatment for rill erosion.

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