I live down a private (gravel) road with 3 other houses farther down the road. Regardless of how slow someone drives, tons of gravel dust is launched into the air. It is driving me nuts!! We would like to plant a row of dense and tall plants (I'm thinking bushes, maybe trees if that would work) to act as a barrier. The added privacy is a plus. We are in North Carolina. Any ideas? many thanks, as always.
Also, I wasn't entirely sure where to post this. Mods, please move as needed.
I completely agree with dale, its dust because theres nothing to hold water. Inorganic. Slowly introduce fine organics, (neighbors, might not like dales techniques) coffee grounds, unwanted clay, mouldy leaf litter, grass clippings, maybe rake in a bucket a day here and there. It also looks like you have an opportunity to dig maybe a shovel wide by deep, ditch near by to keep it wet, and work as a dust magnet. A friend once raked back about 2 inches of gravel, layed down manure and straw, and replaced the stone, it is now like a normal road.
my neighbor runs sprinklers on a timer, a few minutes every hour or two (basically as short and as often as he could program the timer to run, like what you would run for a plant propagation system). They are for the flower bed along the drive, but tend to overshoot onto the road quite a bit
Any tall bush helps, maybe something like rosa ragusa if you want flowers and thorns. Or anything listed in fedges (food hedges).
The chemical answer is to spray the road with liquid magnesium chloride. It absorbs humidity out of the air, keeping the dust damp so it won't fly. Fairly safe as far as chemicals go, but it is a salt and can cause kidney or liver damage in pets if they drink it.
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Well this little issue has reared its head a number of times over the years. Even in the Marines we had the challenge of losing "line of sight" on target areas do to "road dust." So this issue has been on the minds of many for a long time.
Now a little trick you may wish to try before all others...if you are game for it. Is a "manure tea" and "clay dusting." These two methods have served me well over the decades when such an issue arrises.
Secure some rabbit, goat, or sheep droppings, I like these as they are not unpleasant to handle and smell. Horse and Cow will work yet the fiber content is too course for ease of processing, plus the first forms, especially rabbit and goat are what I make "moss grower" out of. This "tea" needs to be the as strong as you can make it and adding urine (usually your own is the easiest to get) gives it the final punch. I would suggest spraying (with a pump bug sprayer) at night, as the smell can be a bit "strong" and this little clandestine operation can lead to questions some may not care to field with neighbors. The tea blend is not much different (if at all) from other manure teas used in gardens.
You are going to spray it on every other day and immediately dust the area with a powdered clay. Clay cat litter will often work if need be as most are a bentonite. It will usually take less than two weeks and may never (??) need to be done again depending on soil types and microbiome organisms in your area.
We have used this with success, and it has been used by members of the AZA. I don't like having to resort to epoxies or other polymers, yet on some operations it becomes a necessity of time, safety and conservation of vintage materials, so we will use them. They do have to met my criteria of environmentally safe after application...This one has and does thus far.
I went the hard way and built back from the road. I see properties with 10, 20, 40 acres and the house is 100 foot from the road. I guess it's to save on building a driveway? We built several hundred feet back and still get some dust when the wind is right. I plan on doing some coppicing along the road side of the property to help with it. Due to prevailing winds, people on the other side of the road don't have to worry about it too much.
The said friend in the earlier post, who used manure, derived the technique, from something a local horse facility did. Which was make a manure spray like jay recommended. So the trend seems to be, dust control equates to introducing organic matter for soil stability.
"Houses were shut tight, and cloth wedged around doors and windows, but the dust came in so thinly that it could not be seen in the air, and it settled like pollen on the chairs and tables, on the dishes."
- John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
We had this problem up at my cabin in upstate NY. The road used to have a lovely shaded canopy and hardly ever spewed up much dust. About 10 years back the county came in cut down all the trees for 20' on either side of the road and widened it. Now the only time it doesn't kick up clouds of dust is right after a rain.
So, from that experience, I would plant trees that have a nice tall and broad profile on both sides of the road. Over the years, I would prune them so that they arch over the road. After they're tall enough, I would plant some hedge trees and tall grasses to try and hold the dust back.
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