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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a garden which is on a slope and need to plant something which will stop erosion and preserve moisture for the roots of other plants. I have been reading about Vetiver grass and think this will be a good solution. I know it is grown in Portugal and is being used in the Algarve (It's grown widely in India) My question...can I get it at normal garden centres? Does anyone know of a supplier? I might need quite a lot of young plants.

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I think you're on the right track with grass.

I know California has a huge problem with erosion and landslides and they use a certain kind of grass that has a substantial root system.
Sorry I don't know the name of it off hand but I'm sure you can find more info online.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Simply. yes, I think they use this grass in California too. It has a non invasive root system ie it doesn't grow outwards but straight down very deep. Apparently the top can be used as fodder and fed to chickens etc whilst the roots themselves clean the soil of any bacteria etc . the roots are very fragrant and are widely used in perfumes. I think it sounds like a wonder plant! I know they are using it on highways and roundabouts as it presents less of a fire hazard than normal grass. I just wish I knew where to get the plants in the Algarve!
 

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What about asking the road crews?
If you see some doing maintenance on the areas where you've seen the grass, just ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I found a 2000 reference to the introduction of Vetiver Grass in Portugal - but I couldn't find anything more recent. In particular I could not find a reference to commercial availability.

VETIVER GRASS -- EUROPEAN AND MEDITERRANEAN VETIVER NETWORK

Thanks to you both. I continue to search. I know it's what I need. Am really trying to learn about drought resistant gardening and gardening in tune with what's around. I am not enamoured of the idea of fighting with the extremes I have encounterd here in my garden in the Algarve. I want to eventually trip around the garden rubbing on thyme and lavender plants with a g and t in hand releasing beautiful smells and watching the bees!
 

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Verinia - I found your question interesting. We'll be building our house near the Obidos Lagoon (about an hour north of Lisbon) over the next year and it's on a hill. I dislike the huge retaining walls, so I've been thinking about how to gently terrace and maintain natural slopes. The Vitiver grass sounds like an interesting solution - though our area is not quite as dry as the Algarve.
 

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The walls are generally there for a reason, rainfall on exposed ground is a real erosion problem and you might need them in conjunction with gentle slopes to keep your house on the hill:)

There's a contact phone number and e-mail on link for the Algarve, maybe direct approach will find suppliers
 

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The walls are generally there for a reason, rainfall on exposed ground is a real erosion problem and you might need them in conjunction with gentle slopes to keep your house on the hill:)
Agreed - what I don't like are the 2+ metre high walls. I'm hoping to keep retaining walls at 1 metre or less where possible as you say in conjunction with gentle slopes. The grasses seem a good low maintenance solution to provide ground cover in a few areas.
 

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Agreed - what I don't like are the 2+ metre high walls. I'm hoping to keep retaining walls at 1 metre or less where possible as you say in conjunction with gentle slopes. The grasses seem a good low maintenance solution to provide ground cover in a few areas.
You might need more of them at a 1mtr to get same bank retention
 

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For here it's more having a shady area out of full sun, in UK most of our garden was planted with Hostas and grasses, here we've just one bed that achieves that, water new ones but otherwise not overally, well mulched with bark though except the black New Zealand grass that's really an Iris doesn't show well:(
 
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