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Reforestation - Growing trees in arid, barren lands - by Seeds and Clay cubes (no watering)

 
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mastic could be interesting in greece
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastic_%28plant_resin%29
 
pollinator
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I also think quince is a good idea, it works here, even as root stock for grafting.
(I am not fond of the fruit as I do not eat sugar...)

Loquat can be good.
If you could see where I have seen one, hanging from a cliff between rocks!
(I think there is some sapered water coming to it)

Mines, planted 2 and 3 year ago resist with almost no added water this (fresh) summer!

We also here have some wild cherries, they do really great.

I laught at your pic and comment of the prickly pear!
Yes, if you plant it now, it will rot this winter, and they rooted because you planted them when the weather was dry enough.
 
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Hello Xisca,

I will definitely try Loquat. I have one of these trees at my farm, but it's not very happy there. It may work in other locations - I will try in all places I investigate.

I tried wild cherry last year, and none sprouted - it could be bad seed - I will try again in different locations.

It would be great if we have 10 different trees for all locations.

I am hoping the readers of this thread will try planting some of the trees (50 of each) we mentioned here and report back the results.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Xisca and all,

FYI I started cooking and eating the cactus pads this summer (nopales) - free food - who am I, to not like it.

I got used to it and now it tastes good.

Kostas
 
Janet Reid
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hi folks
i have been looking at goji berries
this website suggests they are grown to reclaim desert land
http://www.growinggoji.com/
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thank You Janet for the suggestion,

I will try them - just saw a YouTube video - they germinate easily.

We will want to see how the survive the difficult months of July August and September without watering, at different elevations and locations.

It would be nice if they work.

Let us know how they do in your location - pick a spot where grazing animals cannot get to them and bury the seeds in the ground in the middle of the winter.

I usually bury about 12 seeds in a straight line, about 5 cm apart - I do this at 3 or 4 places in on location and then mark the place so I can check on the seeds.

Kostas
 
Janet Reid
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dates could be useful too KK
this is a video of a food forest in desert context
it has dates over the top of citrus and other trees
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hftgWcD-1Nw

apparently seeds can produce trees that are not as good fruit as ones grown from offshoots but if that is not a primary concern it could be a useful colonising tree
a chap at the community garden said he was taking medjool dates and keeping them in his hot car to help them germinate =)
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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An interesting presentation by Dr. Dianne Six

 
Janet Reid
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terrifying thanks KK
a clear presentation
 
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Hello, I'm also in Greece, Kozani. What an inspiration this project is. perhaps I should talk to my walker friends and give them seeds from my orchards to plant on the mountain sides of Boio and Olympos and wherever else they go.

Would these cactus pads grow in this area I wonder, I've never seen them around here.

Kostas, is there a local, Greek site online that you coordinate efforts by? I would be interested in becoming involved.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Susan,

What a great idea - people hiking or walking and planting trees along the walking paths !!!

There is a variety of cactus pads that grows in Thessaloniki and I am sure they would do well in Kozani - they grow everywhere around Thessaloniki. See

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.6134661,22.9875365,3a,75y,37.31h,69.38t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s0UuZrfHA19fgmPxlxqTzGA!2e0?hl=el

You can see them using Google street view at the above location - take as many as you want.

There is no coordination on my part, or web site - its mostly a personal effort to ID trees and shrubs that will grow without any assistance - thus reducing the cost of reforestation.

This time of the year is the right time to put seeds in the ground.

Panos Manikis in Edessa does more coordinated reforestation activities and has a web site http://www.natural-farming.eu/en/ . Panos is great and very helpful.

I can send you some seeds if you want to start planting activities in your area.

Kostas
 
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Please summarise what that "terrifying" video says, for the benefit of those of us who don't have good enough internet connections for video!
Thanks
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Rebecca,

Professor Dianne Six is an expert on mountain pine beetle outbreak.

She gave a global perspective on these tiny insects.

According to Dr. Six, they have killed billions of trees, and are moving to higher elevations, killing whitebark pine; they are also moving north and eastward, and are expected to reach the east coast killing the trees along the way. The pine beetle are at this point are strong, healthy and are multiplying in large numbers - they are expected to stop multiplying when they have eaten up all the pines.

Hugh quantities of carbon are released with the destruction of the forests along with other side effects to animals and people.

Dr. Six indicated that other tree species around the world are stressed due to increases in temperature/climate change and reduction in moisture.

It's not a pretty picture -(You should find a way to watch this - my descriptive writing is )

Kostas
 
Rebecca Norman
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Thank you for explaining the video! Sounds scary, you're right.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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A quick update.

Another 20,000+ seeds have been placed in the ground.

A simple tool was made to help in the seed placement (see photo) - it allows for the placement of 500 seeds per hour - on level ground.

Small quantities of seeds were send to Cyprus, the island of Crete, and the island Amorgos to test whether the seeds we have discussed in this thread will survive in these places - Cyprus, Crete and Amorgos have long hot dry summers - we will see what happens and report back, on the good/bad ....

In the spring I will be checking and reporting back on what is happening with this year's seeds, and the young trees from the previous years.

Kostas
Seed-Placement-Tool.jpg
[Thumbnail for Seed-Placement-Tool.jpg]
Seed Placement Tool
 
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Hello Kostas, very interesting tool, how does it work?
I'm very interested in wich plants/trees do well in Macedonia, and would you know somewhere i could get young almond trees around Thessaloniki?
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Caduceus Freekt,

The seeds mentioned in this thread do well in Northern Greece/Macedonia - it also depends on the micro climate and elevation of the site - high elevations have shorter summers and usually more rainfall, and they allow larger variety of trees - it's a trial and error for each location - try the ones discussed here, but then add more seeds to see how they do.

The tool is simple to use - just step on it - make a hole in the ground - drop the seed in and step on the soil to cover the seed - large seeds like almond need to be covered by about 3 to 5 cm of soil, while small seeds like apples only need about 1 to 2 cm soil cover.

As far as almond trees - try calling Panos Manikis - he will guide you on this manner - see http://www.natural-farming.eu/en/ and call him.

Kostas
 
Caduceus Freekt
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Figured that's about how it worked, depending on planting distance ofcourse, wouldn't a spiked wheel work?
I've met Panos briefly at a workshop in Edessa last year, seemed like a very nice and knowledgeable guy.
However Edessa is out of my range, so i was hoping to find a nursery that delivers.
I've tried searching myself, but Google translate is not your friend when it comes to Greek
Looking forward to an exchange of ideas here, i have many, and sometimes even a good one!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Caduceus Freekt,

That's pretty good - I like your comment about ideas !!!

Exchange of ideas is what's it all about.

We are in deep trouble and we all need to work together and come up with ways to repair this home we call the earth.

Please share your ideas.

Kostas
 
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Hi Everyone,
I have been reading through this thread with great interest. I am an American ex-pat living in Kenya. The whole country is being rapidly deforested. Most of the population uses firewood or charcoal to cook their food. Rains are failing, droughts are getting worse, crops are failing, people are going hungry. Where we live used to be equitorial rainforest. It was all cleared out decades ago to make sugarcane plantations. The soils is depleated, exhausted, acidic heavy clay. Sugarcane is being grown only with the "assistance" of increasing amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

I am very interested in establishing a tree-planting project here. We have two seasons - rainy and dry. (Or mud, and dust as I like to say.) Its fairly easy to get something to germinate during the rains, but getting the seedlings to survive the dry season without assistance is a problem. We've been planting Blue Gum on our property, along with some avocadoes and mangoes. I'd really love to hear any ideas and advice on how to proceed - and how to convince the locals to also start up tree-planting initiatives. I'd love to expand this to our other property near the coast - which is completely barren. Some scrub grows during the rains, but it completely dies off during the dry (and extremely hot) season.

I'd love to hear any ideas, advice, etc that you can offer.

Thanks,
Maureen
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hi Maureen,

Maybe you should wait until all of the trees are cut down (and people are forced to migrate) and then start fresh - it feels that way here - we may plant 10, but they cut down 1,000.

Based on experience, if you can establish ground cover, you can grow a forest - that also may become a food forest.

The idea is to use trees and shrubs as ground cover. Every piece of land regardless of location, has some trees that like to grow there, simply by putting the seeds in the ground (or in clay cubes/balls). The seeds need to be closely spaced - every meter at the most.

The difficult part is to id the trees that like to grow there and give them a chance to grow (protection from grazing animals).

The 1st step is to put some seeds in the ground in the middle of the rainy season - try some the trees we mentioned here.

Also observe what is growing wild in your area.

Keep us posted and please share your ideas and experiences.

Hope it helps.

Kostas
 
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:A quick update.

Another 20,000+ seeds have been placed in the ground.

A simple tool was made to help in the seed placement (see photo) - it allows for the placement of 500 seeds per hour - on level ground.

Small quantities of seeds were send to Cyprus, the island of Crete, and the island Amorgos to test whether the seeds we have discussed in this thread will survive in these places - Cyprus, Crete and Amorgos have long hot dry summers - we will see what happens and report back, on the good/bad ....

In the spring I will be checking and reporting back on what is happening with this year's seeds, and the young trees from the previous years.

Kostas



HI Kostas,

Do you have a lot of fog in the long hot dry summer? I was watching a show on the Redwoods in California. They said that fog gives the tree most of the water they need during long, dry, hot summers.

So, if you have fog, maybe the seeds will survive.

sheri
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hi Sheri,

No such luck with fog - but a few seeds do survive and thrive.

Kostas
 
Caduceus Freekt
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@Kostas
something i have been thinking about for a while is your idea of dispersing from the air, but the problem being the seedballs scattering on impact.
I was thinking that PVA bags could be a solution, would dissolve with the next rains, don't think it would be much more effort than making the seedballs themselves.
Although the price could be a problem, 10-15 cts a piece, likely less wholesale.
It also would depend at from wich height you intend to do it ofcourse.

@Maureen
In the wet season, see how the water flows, where it pools naturally, and work from there establishing groundcover.
Look in your area for places where water remains for a longer period during the dry season, and see what grows there, that would be a good start.


Cad
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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PVA bags !!!

a step in the right direction - great idea Cad -- will need to investigate it

kostas
 
Caduceus Freekt
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I'm gonna be over in a few weeks, if you want, i can bring you some.
And maybe you could get me some seeds?
Otherwise, it is used in carpfishing, so you might find it at an angling shop.

Cad
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Cad,

Send me an email at karoubas@yahoo.com, and will make arraignments to meet.

That would be great - thanks

Kostas
 
Caduceus Freekt
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Got some bags on the way, curious myself if this is feasible, fortunately i'll soon have plenty of room and time to experiment with them.
What i was wondering about is when you make seedballs, do you combine different plants/trees?
I'm thinking in the direction of guilds/companion plants and beneficial organisms, don't know if the extra effort/cost would be worth it though.

 
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Hi Kostas and others,

I have just read through your thread, wow! You are doing a great thing!

You mentioned your method of scarifying seed in a blender. Have you tried hot water to scarify? This would be worth trying out as im sure the method would lend itself to doing large batches at once and maybe using a sieve to sort the imbibed seed from the "un-imbibed"? This way you also know you are only planting seed that has been successfully preped. There must be a certain amount of the blender treated seed that would not be successfully scarified and go un-noticed?

Here is a video showing the process:


Hope this helps in some way


 
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Konstantinos,

I love the seed placement tool. It would be nice if the handle was hollow and you could place the seed on top and let it slide down and fall in the hole by itself. No bending over!

Maybe I'm just lazy.

Cheers,
Lucía
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Good point Lucia
I had a previous version of this tool - as you describe - I like this version better - I drop the seeds from a standing position.
I guess it's a matter of personal preference.


Hello Steven - thanks for the suggestions.
Some seeds respond well to hot water scarifying - others need to have the outer surface of the seed nicked or cut to absorb water - carob seeds for example, need to be scarified by a razor or be eaten by goats I am told, then they will sprout.

In all methods I wonder, and we need to check and see if the seeds remain viable 2 or 6 months after they have been treated (the seed may heal itself and close the wound, thereby canceling out the treatment. We may treat seeds (by any of the treatments mentioned), make clay cubes in the summer time and scatter the cubes 3 months later, with the seeds sprouting 3 months later - I wonder if in such a scenario, the treated seeds remain viable - does anyone know or have any suggestions?


Hello Cad - I think the bags are a great suggestion, and we will need to experiment.

On the clay cubes, I do not combine tree seeds, but when making seed balls for plants, I mix a lot of plants together and let nature decide what to grow. Sometimes I add compost in the clay mix and I also use straw in the seed cubes for trees - seed cubes for trees tend to be bigger and the straw helps hold the clay together. Heavy rains tend to be a problem. I am still at the early stages of investigation as far as the clay cubes.

Kostas
 
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Kostas you are amazing! This was an inspiring thread. If I manage to get anything going here I am certainly going to plant them at every bare spot I can!
 
elle sagenev
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:An interesting presentation by Dr. Dianne Six



I live in a pine beetle infected area. Tons of dead trees here. It has been aiding in fire actually. So much dead wood clustered around that small fires get out of control. Ft Collins CO had a bad one a few years ago that was aided by beetle kill. It's really sad around here.


On this note, I wonder what I could get going to help reforest the area. Hmmm.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hi Elle,

I am sorry to hear about the pine tree loss - it must be difficult.

It's not hard to plant new trees by seed - you just need to take the 1st step (what do they say about the 1,000 mile journey?) - actually for you right now is a good time to take a hand full of seeds and stick them in the ground and then keep an eye on them to see how they do. Once you find what the earth likes to grow in your area, use these trees as ground cover. It's easy - you can plant 1,000 seeds in 2 - 4 hours - 15 years from now people and animals will benefit from your small effort.

I am curious about the trees infested with pine beetles - is there a large scale natural reforestation taking place, after the fires, or are the seeds washed away by sudden rains?

If you have new pine trees growing, do these get attacked again by pine beetles again?

Do the other trees in the area, such as apple trees get attacked by the beetle or is it just the pines?

Thank You

Kostas
 
elle sagenev
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Hi Elle,

I am sorry to hear about the pine tree loss - it must be difficult.

It's not hard to plant new trees by seed - you just need to take the 1st step (what do they say about the 1,000 mile journey?) - actually for you right now is a good time to take a hand full of seeds and stick them in the ground and then keep an eye on them to see how they do. Once you find what the earth likes to grow in your area, use these trees as ground cover. It's easy - you can plant 1,000 seeds in 2 - 4 hours - 15 years from now people and animals will benefit from your small effort.

I am curious about the trees infested with pine beetles - is there a large scale natural reforestation taking place, after the fires, or are the seeds washed away by sudden rains?

If you have new pine trees growing, do these get attacked again by pine beetles again?

Do the other trees in the area, such as apple trees get attacked by the beetle or is it just the pines?

Thank You

Kostas



Apple trees in Wyoming. Ha! Wyoming is pretty limited in tree types. We have aspen and cottonwood and pine. Cities have various other trees because of the shelter and care they are provided. Elsewhere only the hardy survive. To answer your question about reforestation I am going to attach a picture I saw just this week on Craigslist. Someone in the fire area who is looking to have trees removed. It's not looking good.

I think I might start seed collecting and planting this year though. I'd love to make a difference!
dead.jpg
[Thumbnail for dead.jpg]
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Elle,

That looks rough - sorry.

Apples, almonds and apricots may work well for you - you should not be afraid of failure. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. \

Try many different types of seeds - even if you sure they will fail.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Cad,

I have been contemplating your great idea of using the PVA bags and how to drop them from planes without breaking up the seed clay seed cubes.

Like all great problems, they have numerous solutions, with the best being the least expensive in time in money.

After a few failures, here is a first solution. Put the clay seed cube in a small PVA bag, and tie it to a bigger PVA bag that will act as a parachute to reduce the speed of the falling cube.

Instead of a cube, I put in a fruit of similar size (apple or orange), and dropped it from the 4th floor of our building. After 5 tries, I found the right size bag to act as a parachute - see photo below. The apple landed safely on the concrete sidewalk.

We need to test this from a 10 story or higher building or maybe use one of these drones that carry cameras and have it dropped from 300 meters or higher to see what happens.

Will the big bags open and act as parachutes, how many will not ? we will need to check

As I said this is the 1st solution - we should try other options. Lets hear ideas.

Kostas
failures-are-great.jpg
[Thumbnail for failures-are-great.jpg]
5 Failures
possible-solution.jpg
[Thumbnail for possible-solution.jpg]
This worked
 
Caduceus Freekt
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Parachutes! Nice one Kostas!
Have been looking at drones aswell, but more as a tool for dispersal, definitely worth looking into.
What i've been wondering is if using a weight, maybe a clay disk, on the bottom of the bag, on top several smaller seedballs, packed tightly, whereby on impact the bag would burst, dispersing the seedballs over a larger area.
The clay disk could contain other beneficial stuff, and/or small seeds.
But i figure a picture is worth a thousand words, so prepare to be amazed by my awesome sketching skills


Cluster-seedball-bomb.jpg
[Thumbnail for Cluster-seedball-bomb.jpg]
Cluster seedball bomb
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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cooool !!!
 
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Your post intrigued me and was very informative. Since reading I have started planting left over almonds that we picked about a month ago from trees growing on the side of the road.

I live in a semi arid region on a worn out sheep and grain farm. I'm trying to find ways to re forest my 20 acres and thought this was a great idea. I do have quite a few gums and pines and lots of old man salt bush but 2 thirds of my land is just natural grasses.

Thanks for your inspiration
 
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