Erosion Control Measures Glossary

conventional tillage

Primary and secondary tillage operations normally performed in preparing a seedbed and/or cultivating for a given crop grown in a given geographical area, usually resulting in <30% cover of crop residues remaining on the surface after completion of the tillage sequence.


The practice of leaving land either uncropped and weed-free, or with volunteer vegetation during at least one period when a crop would normally be grown; objective may be to control weeds, accumulate water, and/or available plant nutrients.


A process of spray grass-seeding with a mixture or blend of cellulose fiber mulch, grass seed and water.  This forms a mat or blanket on the soil to enhance seed germination, vigorous growth, and good rooting system.  Also known as "hydromulching."


 The soil isn’t broken except for planting and maybe for some fertilization.

organic matter

The total of the organic compounds in soil, exclusive of undecayed plant and animal tissues, their "partial decomposition" products, and the soil biomass. The term is often used synonymously with humus. (Glossary of Soil Science Terms. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. 1998)


A small, intermittent water course with steep sides, usually only several centimeters deep.


The portion of precipitation or irrigation on an area that does not infiltrate but, instead, is discharged from the area. That which is lost without entering the soil is called "surface runoff."


Eroded particles that are no longer part of the soil. These sediments, sand silt, or clay size, are carried by wind or water and deposited to a different area, like surface water bodies. Sedimentation occurs when eroded soil is deposited and/or settles in water. Erosion, itself, is the process of detaching and transporting soil particles.


The combination or arrangement of soil particles that forms peds or aggregates.


The relative proportions of the various soil separates (i.e., sand, silt, clay) in a soil, as described by the classes of soil texture shown in Fig. 1