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The Vetiver System

The Vetiver System

For the vetiver system, the vetiver plant is usually planted in hedgerows. The vetiver system is also used for sediment control and waste water treatment among other things. It is believed that if applied correctly, the vetiver system can reduce soil erosion by ninety percent.

In the vetiver system, a vegetative barrier or a hedge is present which comprises of clump vetiver grass, which is rooted deeply and is stiff and dense. It is planted along the outline of the slopes and thus slows down the runoff which results in soaking of the water by the soil instead of it washing off the slope. This allows sediments to stay on the site and eventually forms natural terraces.

vetiver system

The vetiver system uses a particular variety of vetiver which is found in South India and is non-invasive, non-fertile and propagation of this particular variety is done by clump subdivision.
The vetiver system is used in various fields, like agriculture, bio-engineering, bio-remediation and many more.


Agriculture- The vetiver system has many uses in the agricultural field. The recycling of the nutrients of soil, controlling pest, soil moisture improvement, cleaning of wastewater are some of the things which are achieved by using the vetiver system. The vetiver system is also used to control the runoff, trap the sediments during heavy rainfall and floods, it stabilizes the soil. Apart from the basic function of the system to prevent soil erosion, it also prevents wind erosion. It also protects the rural systems which include the ponds, canals, roads and even building sites. It also recharges groundwater reserves. It’s safe to say that the vetiver system is a boom to the agricultural field with its innumerable uses.

vetiver in agriculture

Farmers in India have been using vetiver grass for decades to reduce the loss of soil, conserve moisture and increase groundwater recharge

vetiver in india

Hedgerow set up to protect crops from high winds in China.

vetiver hedge row to protect thecrops from high winds

Bio-engineering- Compared to other engineering alternatives which include the usage of cement, rock and steel, the vetiver system has proved to be much more productive, adept and low cost for the protection and stabilization of roads, railroads and building sites.

stabilization of building using vetiver system

Cut slopes in china stabilized by vetiver system.

 cut slope stabilized by vetiver system

Water applications- The vetiver grass has an ability to abide high levels of compounds containing nitrates, phosphate and several agricultural chemicals. The vetiver system endures toxic material and barricades the harmful contaminants from further permeating.

erosion prevention by vetiver system

The erosion of ponds, river banks and reservoirs caused by the wave action can be prevented by the help of vetiver system.

vetiver system improves water quality

It ensures the adherence of the canals and river banks and reduces cost for maintenance. It bolsters the walls of dams against collapses. It removes sediments and several chemicals and hence improves the quality of water.

vetiver system at river bank 

A river bank stabilized by vetiver

Bioremediation- One of the most important applications of vetiver system is its usefulness in controlling the pollution from waste products and contaminants. Vetiver has been used to increase productivity of sites which were earlier deemed to be unproductive and useless by restoring the soil and providing it with the essential nutrients.


Vetiver can remove nitrates and phosphate from pollutant water. The beaker on right is before treatment and the one on the left is after treatment.

vetievr system purifying water 

In China near the city Guangzhou there is one of the largest landfills in the world. The sides were not stable and a large amount of leachate was seeping out and affecting downstream users. Vetiver System was applied for about five years and the conditions improved.

Example of vetiver system in china 

Disaster Mitigation- Natural disasters have always been a man’s worst enemy. There is no way to control the occurrence of natural disasters and their damages are long lasting. They lead to loss of life, damage to infrastructure and reduced economic output. Earthquakes, are an example of a natural disaster, and they lead to severe damage and generally lead to unsteady, slippery and erodible slopes. The vetiver system can prove to be very productive in the prevention of such destruction and damage. They can stabilize the slopes, roads, highways, bridges and other building sites. The vetiver system is extremely useful in protecting our environment and infrastructure from certain casualties. 

vetiver system for dam protection

A badly built dam in Australia was partially protected by vetiver to reduce the damage by wave action.

vetiver system to save road crossing from floods

In Australia, this road crossing is often affected by floods. Vetiver was planted to reduce damage.

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