QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY

Dick Grimshaw, an agriculturist, founded The Vetiver Network International in 1994 having worked with the Vetiver System since 1986, when he and John Greenfield reintroduced the technology to Indian farmers during the latter part of the 1980s. Following his return to the US he promoted the Vetiver System world wide. He was responsible for its introduction to China and a number of other Asian countries. He lives in Bellingham located in the Pacific North West of the US.

I have been reviewing global applications of vetiver grass for slope stability and soil and water conservation.  There is great disparity in quality (poor quality = poor results!). I would suggest that all users of vetiver look to improving QUALITY. 
Quality starts with selecting good quality plant material for propagation material - this means DO NOT use “wild” plants, rather select from sturdy plants that look healthy and well grown. In every case quality plants from nursery stock are always the best. 
When splitting clumps discard all dead looking tillers - they will NOT grow well.  Best results are vetiver “slips” with 3 tillers.
QUALITY APPLICATION DESIGN:  Careful design considerations results in achieving desired objectives. Design is more complicated and particularly important for bio-engineering and phytoremedial applications of vetiver.
QUALITY SITE APPLICATIONS: in most cases (there are exceptions) we are looking for a narrow stiff grass barrier that will reduce down slope water flow velocity, spreading it out, and depositing sediment. To achieve this within the first 12 months vetiver plants should be planted in the line 15cm apart (there are far too many instances of planting 25-30 cm and more), at the correct time (availability of water and temperature), and with a nutrient supplement (particularly phosphate).
Lastly a QUALITY MAINTENANCE plan is needed - this includes in the first year weed suppression, top dressing of fertilizer, trimming (including placing leaves cut immediately behind the hedge as a temporary barrier whilst the plants grow together). Might also include fencing to exclude livestock, and supplementary watering.

Perhaps you can’t do all these things but two things you really should do is select good quality planting material and not plant too far apart.

--Dick Grimshaw