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More Vetiver Grass at Finca Yantza

Taking advantage of the current rainy season we have been planting some 5000 new vetiver grass seeds. Having already transplanted vetiver grass half a year earlier and seen the positive effect. We decided to plant more during the rainy season.


Technically Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) is a noninvasive perennial bunchgrass of the Poaceae family, native to India. The name comes from “vetiver,” a Tamil word meaning “root that is dug up.” The zizanioides was given by Linnaeus in 1771 and means “by the riverside.” As you would guess, the native habitat of this grass is in low, damp sites such as swamps and bogs.

Vetiver can grow up to 150 centimeters high and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward, 2 meters to 4 meters in depth. FOUR meters deep roots !!! At finca PermaTree vetiver is an active part of the sustainable elements, we have implemented. There are many additional possible uses of the vetiver grass.

Vetiver grass at PermaTree

This vetiver gras has been planted about 6 month ago

So the most accessible part of finca PermaTree is from where it starts to get steeper and steeper – a real slope.

The reason Vetiver works so well for erosion control is it produces a massive root system that grows straight down rather than out from the plant. It creates a sort of curtain beneath the soil, trapping sediment and slowing down the movement of water. Because the grass grows down instead of outward, it does not become invasive.

Our focus with vetiver is to control the soil erosion

To fight against loss of land, reduced soil fertility, greater rainfall runoff, lower groundwater recharge, more sediment flows in river, higher contaminants in diminishing water supplies, lowered quality of drinking water, increased flooding, and diminished economic benefits and increased hardships to both rural and urban populations especially in developing countries, but also increasingly in developed countries too.

This is one vetiver grass seed we use to transplant.

We purchased the vetiver directly within Ecuador in so called “bultos”, each of the filled with about 500 vetiver grass seedlings.

We did use a lot of manpower. During 2 days no more than 5 planted all the 5000 vetiver

On this image you can clearly see the two rows of vetiver gras transplanted about 50cm before the “cliff” with the natural road.

Here you can see that we decided to plant them rather tightly together. If you compare with the first image at the top with the grown-up vetiver and the recycled tire stair you can image how high and wide this natural fence is going to grow.

Initially 10 month ago we had planted a few vetivers but had not managed to cut down the pasture grass witch grows up to 2 meter high. And so does not let the vetiver get enough sunlight. So for now all is clean and there is no more pasture grass. It will re-grow within the next 4 weeks… But so will the vetiver and hopefully in 3 month from now the vetiver will have won the growing race.

Additional known uses of Vetiver grass

  1. Vetiver protected plots were consistently richer in nutrient contents than control plots. Nitrogen use efficiency was enhanced by about 40%
  2. Vetiver mulch conserves moisture and improves soil fertility
  3. A method of fermenting the harvested grass has been found to make an excellent medium for growing mushrooms.
  4. Vetiver is used as a wind break or to trap soil and sediment from washing away on terraced agricultural plantings as well as bare hillsides.
  5. The roots of the plant have been used for centuries as a source of essential oil that makes a wonderful perfume. It is also used for scenting soaps and other cosmetics.
  6. Rugs and mats made from aromatic Vetiver Root
  7. animal forage at a certain stage of growth
  8. Vetiver Plants are used to clean water from agricultural and farming operations

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