Appendix B: Bioengineering for Streambank Erosion Control -- Guidelines
Plants to be grown for planting can be grown in a greenhouse or other enclosed facility
or in the case of emergent aquatics, outdoor ponds or troughs containing water. In either
case, the plants must first be acquired from the wild or other growers, and propagated. If
seeds are used for propagation, they must first be stratified (subjected to various treatments
such as soaking and temperature differences), but germination requirements for most wetland
plant seeds are unknown. If a greenhouse is to be used, a number of limitations and
constraints must be overcome, such as room for pots, adequate ventilation, and requirements
or problems associated with fertilizing, watering, and disease and pest control.
Plants can be grown in coir carpets (Figures 25 a-c), mats, or rolls, to facilitate early
establishment, ease of transport, and rapid development. Emergent aquatic plants, especially,
may be hydroponically grown in the greenhouse or in outside troughs. Then, they can be
transported to the planting site ready to grow with roots already established in the carpet,
mat, or roll. The Waterways Experiment Station used a coir carpet for this purpose in 1983
for growing and transporting ready-to-grow plants to a site in Mobile Bay for erosion control
of dredged material. This same concept can be used along streambanks and can be used to
an advantage when one is in an area with short growing seasons or where rapid installation
Advantages of Growing Plants
All of the advantages of purchasing plants can be realized.
The variety of species available can be as diverse as for plants collected in the wild
and plants can be planted in large quantities.
Plants can be available earlier in the season than purchased or collected plants.
Low cost is one of the primary reasons to grow stock for planting.
Disadvantages of Growing Plants
Space and facilities must be dedicated to growing plants.
Personnel with time and expertise to grow the plants may not be available.
There is an up-front investment in both fixed and variable overhead items in order
to establish a growing facility and it may not be justified unless there is a large and
continuing need for planting stock.