In New Zealand it is becoming difficult to find land and waterways that are not polluted to some degree. Agriculture, horticulture, forestry, industry and urbanisation all have a roll to play.  Vetiver grass is a plant like no other. Vetiver grass could play a major roll in the repair and protection of our valuable land.

The Vetiver system is used in more than 100 countries for pollution remediation.
 Known only as “miracle grass” in many countries, Vetiver has some key differences.
Unique and efficient aspects of Vetivers rhizosphere and photosynthesis process are key.  While not all is understood about how it achieves these results for pollution, recent research sheds some new light on this amazing plant.

Why is Vetiver selected over other plants?

*Vetiver is very efficient at absorbing and processing a wide range of elements/pollution.  
*It has a very large capacity to process more elements and water when exposed to more.
*Vetiver grass survives happily in most contaminated land and water including areas with high nitrates, phosphates, salinity, acidity, alkalinity, sodicity and most industrial and chemical waste sites
*A one plant system.  Vetiver thrives in every soil type from nothing but water through to nothing but sand.
*Vetiver is non invasive.  It has zero potential to become a weed.
*Frost and drought tolerant once established.
*Has no known pests or diseases.
*Little maintenance is required
*Results are fast
*Very long lived (over 200 years )
*Thrives on land from Nelson north.  Thrives on water from Taranaki north (Approx).


Vetiver on water

Vetiver is one of the few plants meeting all the criteria for phytoremediation.
Vetiver thrives on purpose made rafts.  Vetivers has a large root system with a relatively small top. Thus allowing the roots deep access at the source.  
Vetiver detoxification ability is demonstrated by the following 4 day test.  A bare rooted Vetiver plant was placed into a container of highly nitrated/phosphated effluent water. A reduction of 90-94% being recorded.   

It is possible to utilize this system on any slow moving waterway. Vetiver should be compulsory on all septic, dairy, municipal waste and industrial ponds.  
Why plant next to a polluted waterway when logic says that planting in the water is far more targeted.


Vetiver on land

When Vetiver is grown as a continuous hedge the 800mm wide dense thatch type base of Vetiver is very good at slowing/spreading water. Filtering water through the plant base. Trapping and treating sediment in the process. 

The roots form an underground wall, 800mm wide by 5 metres deep.  This underground wall of roots is instrumental in the controlled distribution of water down the massive root structure and into the soil where the plant can uptake and process the water, nutrient and pollution.
Vetiver is unique because it not only treats a very wide range of elements/nutrients (much wider than other plants) it also has a very efficient processing speed.  Other plants tend to “top out” ie when they have too much of an element or water they may look unwell and possibly die. Vetiver is tolerant to high levels of agricultural and industrial contamination.

Water cycles from deep in the earth to high in the sky.  Via human activity a key contamination zone is the soil.  Is it OK to ignore the pollution store building up deep in the soil?   Waste water, agriculture, horticulture and landfill sites are some key contributors.  Even if we stop now, will it continue to flow into the cycle and pollute the earth for centuries?  Water is fluid.  In NZ many of the plants utilized for pollution have roots to around 60cm. A mature Vetiver plant can have roots 4-6 metres deep.  This is a major advantage in the thorough uptake and treatment of pollution, water and nutrient.  Vetiver has deep cleaning roots. With a relatively small top, everyone could find space for this beautiful tropical grass into their own environmental landscape.

Traditional pollution/riparian plants tend to be quite randomly planted when compared to the “Vetiver system”.   In larger plantings Vetiver is planted in rows (5 plants per metre) across the slope.  A mature hedge has no gaps at ground level and is virtually impermeable at the base.  Water is spread along the hedge. Vetiver is very good at controlling water down through the roots. The excess then flows up and through the dense thatch of the“Vetiver system” thus trapping sediment where it can be treated at the same time stopping/slowing the erosional power of surface water. Because Vetiver is a more intensive system, riparian type plantings can be much narrower. This can free valuable grazing land.

In some situations Vetiver can provide solutions for pollution, flood damage mitigation, stock food, sediment and erosion control at the same time.
Vetiver is an excellent nurse/ground cover plant for native trees.  Trees like Cabbage trees,  Nikau, Kauri, Rewarewa and Pukatea are selected and spaced to let the sunlight in.  Vetivers unique rhizosphere benefiting plants growing in the vicinity.  Vetiver receives much of its water and nutrition from deep in the ground thus neighbouring plants are not usually affected. 

Vetiver can thrive in toxic environments.   Vetiver works well in areas of current or historical pollution entry or exit points. Vetiver is ideal for—Historical landfill and industrial waste sites, effluent zones, sheep dip or spray race operations, agrichemicals including areas used for filling, storing or washing out tanks, fertilizer bulk storage, historical wood treatment and storage zones, pest/herb/fungicide storage or use including spray drip zones in market gardens, orchards and greenhouses.  One of the worst offenders being vine crops (kiwifruit and grapes). Vetiver does not tend to act like a weed when planted alongside production crops.  In fact the opposite tends to occur via Vetivers active rhizosphere.
When all of Vetivers physiological and morphological qualities are evaluated and compared to other earth cleaning plants Vetiver may be considered the most valuable.  Please see www.vetiver.org for more info.

Vetiver is regarded as low maintenance but not usually no maintenance.  I believe it is fair to say that we cannot make advances unless we make an extra effort?  Vetiver simply requires a trim to 500mm high and a sprinkle of bood and bone fertilizer (or similar) in the spring.  At least once every three years, prefferably annually.  Vetiver is like nothing else and as such requires a new approach. Planning in quick maintenance allows this active system to be at its best.     


Climate change

We know that plants are not created equal when it comes climate change.  Trees can take too long to grow.  Smaller plants tend to cycle carbon through life and death.  
The carbon plants pull is stored in the leaves, stems and roots. A good amount makes its way into the soil.
Vetiver may be the only plant that meets all the criteria for carbon sequestration.
Vetiver can live over 200 years. Storing carbon for the long term.  
Vetiver has a large complex root system 4-6 metres deep. Vetiver is regarded as a true carbon sink. 

Vetiver has an active rhizosphere.  This link efficiently helps to move carbon deep into the soil.
Vetiver allows more plants per area. As a grass Vetiver does not mind close plantings. This maximizes root biomass per space available.
Vetiver grows quickly.  We simply not have enough time for trees to grow.  
Plants store carbon in both the soil and in the plant. Uniquely 85% of a Vetiver plant is underground.  If the plant was to die for any reason most of the carbon is stored deep in the ground.
Vetiver is easy to grow, Vetiver has zero weed potential, Vetiver has no pests and diseases and is low maintenance.
Key sources of carbon emission are cities and farms. Vetiver fits these areas well.
It would be great if a native plant possessed these qualities.  If our planet warms just 2 degrees many native plants will not survive the new weather extremes. Vetiver is a tropical grass ready for the climate to warm. Vetiver will grow anywhere it is sunny in the North Island and later, possibly the South Island as the climate warms.
In short Vetiver is like no other plant. Vetiver can efficiently sequester carbon and store it securely deep in the earth whilst fitting into a wide range of situations. 

Start at the beginning
In my grandparents day, diseases like cancer were very rare. What happened in one generation to cause an overburdened health system. It seems obvious to me. I don’t believe I am being negative when I say "everything in the supermarket is bad for you".  Walk through your supermarket with a different view and ask yourself “which products don’t cause cancer”. Highly processed foods and commercially produced fruit and veg are full of contaminants. Not to mention pollution issues with packaging, high carbon miles and food waste. From field to fork it is accepted that 33% of food is wasted. The production of this waste requires carbon.

The government does not have the inclination or the amount of money to be effective. It is up to us.

We are all looking for ways to help the health of ourselves and our delicate planet.  Vetiver may be one of the best earth cleaners we know. Vetiver cleans the air, water and soil. Vetiver sequesters carbon from the atmosphere and through efficient processors Vetiver stores it deep in the earth. Start at the beginning. Lets grow our own food, stop buying commercial food. Use all the tools you have where you are, tools like Vetiver that can repair and protect our home called earth.

Contact us

Please email or phone for a chat, I will double check your situation and confirm that Vetiver is correct for you. Because Vetiver roots grow quickly we grow to order and supply the plants at the correct stage.  Vetiver plants remain at a low cost.   Please contact us today.