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elle sagenev
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I just saw these while I was meandering through reforesting videos on youtube. Simply amazing. If they weren't so expensive I think I'd get hundreds to assist in my planting efforts.

What do you all think?

Do you think it could be replicated cheaper

http://www.groasis.com/shop/

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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It looks kinda like sepp holzer in a box. I mean that in a good way but also in a less enthusiastic way. If you do this, I don't think your tree really gets to fight its own battles and get stronger. sepp holzer's all about creating microclimates that favor what he wants to grow, but he also lets his trees fend for themselves and grow strong, and doesn't prop them up artificially.

This might be good for short-term uses to jumpstart a desert region or get a homestead going the first few years, but I think it's going to have some long-term ill effects, weakening plants, making them more susceptible to pests. You could phase them out and pass them on to another homesteader after a few years.

That's just my two cents, but ask nature.
 
William Bronson
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Searching for a DIY version of this, I ran across a post from Velacreations ( Abe Connolly?) .
He mentioned deep pipe irrigation and wick irrigation as substitutes.
The waterboxx uses wick irrigation to some extent.
The clear explanation that popsci had up seems gone and the growasis site was hard to navigate, but essentially you need a way to condense water from the cook night air,capture it and deliver it deep into the soil.
The website mentions a layer of insulation, maybe that is the key.
Other than that the device resembles the "dew still "contraption that is a way to capture water in the desert.
 
elle sagenev
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William Bronson wrote: Searching for a DIY version of this, I ran across a post from Velacreations ( Abe Connolly?) .
He mentioned deep pipe irrigation and wick irrigation as substitutes.
The waterboxx uses wick irrigation to some extent.
The clear explanation that popsci had up seems gone and the growasis site was hard to navigate, but essentially you need a way to condense water from the cook night air,capture it and deliver it deep into the soil.
The website mentions a layer of insulation, maybe that is the key.
Other than that the device resembles the "dew still "contraption that is a way to capture water in the desert.


I tried to google "dew still" and all it came up with were a million poems.

The site IS hard to navigate though.

And now I must stalk Abe Connolly to see what DIY he did.
 
elle sagenev
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:It looks kinda like Sepp Holzer in a box. I mean that in a good way but also in a less enthusiastic way. If you do this, I don't think your tree really gets to fight its own battles and get stronger. Sepp Holzer's all about creating microclimates that favor what he wants to grow, but he also lets his trees fend for themselves and grow strong, and doesn't prop them up artificially.

This might be good for short-term uses to jumpstart a desert region or get a homestead going the first few years, but I think it's going to have some long-term ill effects, weakening plants, making them more susceptible to pests. You could phase them out and pass them on to another homesteader after a few years.

That's just my two cents, but ask nature.


I can understand your thinking here but I don't know that I completely agree. The desert has been degraded so much that I don't see how you can get away with not providing something for the growing plants. The same could be said for my own land. Sure, I could plant 10k trees and let them be but I'd probably only be left with 2. I have limited financial means so I need a way to keep most of those trees alive until they are established enough to fend for themselves.

As I was told in another thread, I am going to have to water for at least the first year. This just seems like a great way to water.
 
Abe Connally
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No need to stalk me, my ears were burning...

Here's that thread where I talk about this: http://www.permies.com/t/22657/desert/Wicking-Irrigation-Tree-Establishment

There are numerous DIY examples of Waterboxx. Basically, you need a container, and a wick. The wick can be at the bottom of the container or in the side. Fill the container with water, and bury the wick deep into the soil and you're done.

Deep water pipes is a variation of this, and basically an 18" long 2" PVC or other pipe with holes drilled down the side. Fill with water once a week or so. These are very good for starting trees, I had 90% success rate with these last year, as opposed to 50% (or less) without the pipes.

You should certainly pick species that are hardy in your climate, but these techniques can make those plantings extremely successful.

The prices of those Waterboxx are ridiculous. 5 gallon bucket with a lid and rope wick, $5.
 
R Scott
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There is another one, from Israel, but I can't remember the name. Cheaper but not 5 gallon bucket cheap. They are really good for helping start a tree in a desert. They would flood a tree here.
 
Ichabod Shorthouse
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Trees and plants in dry climates only propagate and continue to survive naturally during extremly wet years. These wicking systems mimic this. when these plants have established they have a chance, like any other desert plant, of being strong enough or not.
 
mike mclellan
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Elle,
I am a Wyoming expat now living north of you in just as dry, but not as windy Helena, MT. I started using Irripans this past summer on my fruit trees and plan to expand using them this coming planting season. They originated in Israel being originally called Tal-ya (water of God). They do not use a wicking mechanism like the groasis waterboxxes. I like the two-pronged way these work in that they completely shade out grass and collect water. Using the figures provided on the website I figure that .04 inches of rain falling on the surface of one irrripan provides one inch of water into the central opening where your tree/shrub grows. That means those usually useless, in terms of wetting the soil, thunder showers we all get here in Rocky Mountain country can actually contribute to irrigating your young trees. They shade out grass competition and collect water and dew, depositing it in the center of the rectangular shaped box. I lined the outside of each one with small stones to discourage voles trying to dig under them ( I have a LOT of voles). I got the idea from jack spirko's podcast.

These are new on the market, only a couple of years from what I can tell. I am NOT a paid endorser in any way. Check out the info here and make your decisions yourselves. Oh, the irripans (Tal-yas) are a lot cheaper Than groasis waterboxxes. http://irripan.com I think this website will connect you to distributors of the irripans.
 
Abe Connally
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Do those irripans have a reservoir to hold water? Because if not, they are basically just a plastic mulch, and a tarp or rocks would do the same thing. That's not what the Groasis Waterboxx is or does. It collects water into a tank and slowly releases it over time.

Mulches like the irripan are useful, but you can source them for free from materials on your property. looking at some of the photos, they have a tree with an irripan around it, and then 3ft tall grass everywhere. Why not just use some cardboard for a grass barrier, and then a good mulch layer of that chopped grass?
 
Ichabod Shorthouse
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Groasis seems like a better idea than than the irripan in my opinion
 
Ichabod Shorthouse
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If it could be made to funnel some of the water hold some and act as a mulch it would be the best of both...high flanged edges to protect from wind...

now who is gonna be the next inventor of this simple idea. I am headed to the workshop
 
Abe Connally
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Ichabod Shorthouse wrote:If it could be made to funnel some of the water hold some and act as a mulch it would be the best of both...high flanged edges to protect from wind...

now who is gonna be the next inventor of this simple idea. I am headed to the workshop


2-3 buckets surrounding a sapling surrounded with 12" of woodchip or grass mulch. Funnel lids on the buckets, wicks on the bottom go deep below soil surface.
 
William Bronson
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The Growasis includes a dew trap, allowing it to collect water from the cool night air.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condensation_trap

Any DIY method should include this feature.
It's the difference between efficient use of irrigation water and actually producing irrigation water.

Growasis box seems to do both.
 
Abe Connally
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William Bronson wrote: The Growasis includes a dew trap, allowing it to collect water from the cool night air.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condensation_trap

Any DIY method should include this feature.
It's the difference between efficient use of irrigation water and actually producing irrigation water.

Growasis box seems to do both.


The problem with this is that in dry climates, dew production will be low, at best. Any metallic lid will do the same thing, but your collection from dew will be small, regardless.
 
mike mclellan
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Do those irripans have a reservoir to hold water? Because if not, they are basically just a plastic mulch, and a tarp or rocks would do the same thing. That's not what the Groasis Waterboxx is or does. It collects water into a tank and slowly releases it over time.

Abe, Plastic mulch, unless laid out well may not funnel all water falling on it or the dew collecting on it to the area around the base of your young tree. Both have the "raised pleated" surfaces which obviously increases surface area for dew collection. The groasis stores water in a reservoir- given. The irripan funnels water and collected dew into the soil where it is stored and presumably used by the plant as needed. The irripans do collect dew and we get quite a bit at times as we are in the Missouri River Valley and there are two large reservoirs within a few miles that definitely raise the relative humidity of the entire area. It was intersting to note that the irrpans collected a heavy covering of hoarfrost in January when we had two days of heavy freezing fog. They are often covered with dew in the early mornings so the dew collection aspect of these two tools is a push IMHO. Rocks next to your desired plant would collect some dew as well, no argument. They also would allow grass to grow in the openings. Considering I am attempting to plant trees/shrubs into a heavy grass cover, I really don't want any grass right next to any of my new plantings. I do, I would assume anyway, get some dew collection on the rocks ( small stones to about two inches in diameter) I place on the perimeter of the irripans in a strip about six inches wide and about 1.5 to 2 inches deep. Thus the rocks serve a double purpose- keeping the voles tunneling under the snow at bay, away from the new(er) tree/shrub and collecting a bit of dew. I also use sepp holzer's handy dandy bone sauce, liberally applied to the base of each and every woody plant I've put in to further discourage the voles. (You want any? I've got plenty!)

My understanding when I investigated whether or not I wanted to use groasis boxes was that they were most appropriate for seeds or young saplings. They were only used normally, if I understood their promotional material correctly,for the plant's first growing season. Results looked impressive for sure. Costs were "impressive" as well, thus I've tried your second suggestion, using cardboard with heavy mulch. I live in grass country, lee side of the Rockies, and I have been MOST impressed by the tenacity of the grass to find its way through thick mulch and cardboard. The cardboard loses most of its effectiveness after one season. I will admit the grass is much easier to pull from the heavily mulched areas, but I now have three to four hundred trees and shrubs and many other projects to pursue so I take my pick, spend time pulling grass or move on to the never ending array of projects to accomplish around here. I am still trying such mulching combinations and do believe that the combination slows the grass down but does not eliminate grass competition. If I just use cardboard and chips I've gotta add mulch every year, and replace the cardboard every year for it to be truly effective. Replacing the cardboard means scraping off the chips on top which will break all of the hyphal threads that have established in the mulch. Put on new cardboard, reapply the mulch and add more and let the fungi start over. Heck our seasons are short enough in the Rocky Mountain country, I don't really want to press reset every year for every tree. I am likely dry as you are in the Chihuahua country so managing water and reducing competition during establishment is critical to success (as measured by desired plant survival and subsequent growth.) I can use the irripans on the same plant for several seasons until it gets large enough to have a fair chance of handling grass competition. I don't understand why anyone would let the grass get so tall next to trees they are trying to establish. Doesn't make sense in promoting the product to show grass that tall next to the tree, does it? Long live the scythe!!

Ichabod, Groasis looks like a great idea for starting seedlings, especially in the desert areas I saw in their promotional material. Grass didn't appear to be a major problem for tree establishment, just the horrible dryness. I balked at the cost of a single groasis let alone as many as I felt I would need to establish the number of trees/shrubs I am attempting to grow. Irripans are a lot cheaper, and available through US suppliers (when I investigated groasis you could only get them shipped by pallet sized lots from the Netherlands). A pallet of groasis was far more expensive than the cost of all the trees I planned to plant and would really only be useful for one season. I'd like to believe all my trees would establish themselves well enough in one season to survive and thrive but the psychotic weather we are now experiencing leads me to believe I've gotta give the new plants several years of help. It's pretty passive help as it only requires the time to install the irripan once. They are supposed to be effective for up to ten years (we'll see about that) so I can hopefully reuse them elsewhere after three or four seasons. These two "irrigation aids" both have a place for people trying to establish woody plants in dry country. I simply wanted Elle to be aware of another alternative for helping her trees out. If you aren't familiar with the climate around Cheyenne, it's windy beyond imagination. The winds are fierce, seemingly constant for weeks at a time, dry every living thing out in winter and are only somewhat less powerful or constant the summer. It is brutal for trees in the short grass prairie of that area of Wyoming. Any help she or other Rocky Mountain permies can get in getting trees established will be most helpful, I'm sure. Peace to all.
 
Abe Connally
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mike mclellan wrote:I am likely dry as you are in the Chihuahua country so managing water and reducing competition during establishment is critical to success (as measured by desired plant survival and subsequent growth.)

I doubt it, especially if you have a grass issue or significant dew production. You are also considerably further north than I am, which even if our rainfalls are the same, you will have less solar influence than I do (and considerably shorter summers).

You could put down plastic sheeting, cut grass, and put dried grass+rocks on the sheeting, it would accomplish 90% of the irripan design at 10% of the cost. If you like them, then that's great, I don't see the benefit of a plastic funnel in my climate, when so many local materials would serve that role just as well (or better, considering the nutritional benefit of mulch). Here, we need water storage, as evaporation is the big killer (we have over 1m of evaporation a year), so having a bucket of water for each tree is a major advantage. Storing in the soil is great, but it takes more than that to establish trees here.

That being said, I think the Groasis is overpriced for what it is (bucket with a wick).
 
mike mclellan
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Ah, true. Intense sun time is brief this far north but it can get bloody hot here and our summer days are longer. Trust me, we do cut the grass to keep it short to discourage the voles. They love to hide in deep piles of cuttings thus I use a lot of woodchips mixed with them. Hope to get geese to help manage that portion of the operation. No matter how we try and what materials we use, may we all be successful in helping this planet regenerate.

You didn't want the voles I assume? Cheers.
 
William Bronson
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A 16" diameter dew trap could collect three liters of water a year.
There are traditionals designs that use clay, rocks and twigs to do much the same thing.
If I had this issue, I would try a much larger dew trap. Perhaps slice the sidewall off one side of a large tire,drape tarp over it.
Maybe something even wider.
 
Abe Connally
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William Bronson wrote: A 16" diameter dew trap could collect three liters of water a year.

Where?
 
William Bronson
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The articles only reference is Australia related.
 
Ichabod Shorthouse
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Abe, I like your idea about the buckets my concern would be smothering of the root zone by the heavy buckets. I don't know if this would be a problem however, I do know that when I move my buckets (nursery stock) that grass takes a year to come back and this is in coastal Florida. I suppose it depends on how close the buckets were. I will try this and see.

I would have to second that dryness and evaporation are bigger problems in The Chihuahuan region, not to imply dew traps would not have an effect just less so.

All these ideas lend to better tree establishment and these wetter winters also do I hope it keeps up.
 
elle sagenev
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mike mclellan wrote:Elle,
I am a Wyoming expat now living north of you in just as dry, but not as windy Helena, MT. I started using Irripans this past summer on my fruit trees and plan to expand using them this coming planting season. They originated in Israel being originally called Tal-ya (water of God). They do not use a wicking mechanism like the groasis waterboxxes. I like the two-pronged way these work in that they completely shade out grass and collect water. Using the figures provided on the website I figure that .04 inches of rain falling on the surface of one irrripan provides one inch of water into the central opening where your tree/shrub grows. That means those usually useless, in terms of wetting the soil, thunder showers we all get here in Rocky Mountain country can actually contribute to irrigating your young trees. They shade out grass competition and collect water and dew, depositing it in the center of the rectangular shaped box. I lined the outside of each one with small stones to discourage voles trying to dig under them ( I have a LOT of voles). I got the idea from Jack Spirko's podcast.

These are new on the market, only a couple of years from what I can tell. I am NOT a paid endorser in any way. Check out the info here and make your decisions yourselves. Oh, the irripans (Tal-yas) are a lot cheaper Than groasis waterboxxes. http://irripan.com I think this website will connect you to distributors of the irripans.


That is a pretty neat idea as well. My problem is I'm not planting on flat surfaces but on berms. So I don't know how that would work.
 
elle sagenev
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Abe Connally wrote:No need to stalk me, my ears were burning...

Here's that thread where I talk about this: http://www.permies.com/t/22657/desert/Wicking-Irrigation-Tree-Establishment

There are numerous DIY examples of Waterboxx. Basically, you need a container, and a wick. The wick can be at the bottom of the container or in the side. Fill the container with water, and bury the wick deep into the soil and you're done.

Deep water pipes is a variation of this, and basically an 18" long 2" PVC or other pipe with holes drilled down the side. Fill with water once a week or so. These are very good for starting trees, I had 90% success rate with these last year, as opposed to 50% (or less) without the pipes.

You should certainly pick species that are hardy in your climate, but these techniques can make those plantings extremely successful.

The prices of those Waterboxx are ridiculous. 5 gallon bucket with a lid and rope wick, $5.


You were too late. I'd already stalked you to your blog. lol
 
elle sagenev
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So, my plan. I think if I do more swales with berms I'll put irrigation pipping under the berm and water that way.

But his year I'm not doing berms and swales but infiltration basins. As such I think I will bury a plastic milk carton beside every tree with a wick in it. Hopefully filling the buckets once will be enough required irrigation.
 
Abe Connally
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elle sagenev wrote:So, my plan. I think if I do more swales with berms I'll put irrigation pipping under the berm and water that way.

But his year I'm not doing berms and swales but infiltration basins. As such I think I will bury a plastic milk carton beside every tree with a wick in it. Hopefully filling the buckets once will be enough required irrigation.


That sounds like a good plan, except for the milk cartons. You have to protect them completely from UV (sunlight). Your climate may be different, but in mine, they degrade after only a couple of weeks in the sun.
 
elle sagenev
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Abe Connally wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:So, my plan. I think if I do more swales with berms I'll put irrigation pipping under the berm and water that way.

But his year I'm not doing berms and swales but infiltration basins. As such I think I will bury a plastic milk carton beside every tree with a wick in it. Hopefully filling the buckets once will be enough required irrigation.


That sounds like a good plan, except for the milk cartons. You have to protect them completely from UV (sunlight). Your climate may be different, but in mine, they degrade after only a couple of weeks in the sun.


I use milk cartons regularly as a cover for my smaller plants when it hails. The only real climate risk to milk cartons here is the wind blowing them away.
 
Dan Boone
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From the Chihuahuan Desert:

Abe Connally wrote:Your climate may be different, but in mine, they degrade after only a couple of weeks in the sun.


Meanwhile, seven hundred (ish) miles north in Wyoming:

elle sagenev wrote:The only real climate risk to milk cartons here is the wind blowing them away.


Halfway in between (speaking latitudinally) I get about a year out of any thin plastic item used in my garden.

It's amazing how much difference a few hundred miles of northing or southing makes in the intensity of solar exposure.
 
Abe Connally
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Dan Boone wrote:
Halfway in between (speaking latitudinally) I get about a year out of any thin plastic item used in my garden.


Most plastics, like PET, last a much longer, year or more, but the particular plastic in milk cartons don't last very long here.

Dan Boone wrote:It's amazing how much difference a few hundred miles of northing or southing makes in the intensity of solar exposure.

yes, this is very true. We are also at 6200 ft elevation, so that makes a difference as well.
 
Abe Connally
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Came across this today, kinda similar:



Tree Gator: http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/4681

On Amazon
 
Socrates Raramuri
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The Groasis Waterboxx seemed amazing to me, too, and i have 20 of them. As soon as i find a suitable location, i imagine setting them up in a circle so the trees/bushes/plants that get established can not only create a micro climate underground but above, as well.

Yes, they are not cheap, but being able to just 'drop a box' and come back a year later is worth something.
Also, considering this Waterboxx vid:

amazing results can be achieved that are hard to imagine any other way. The Waterboxx protects the plant, collects water daily, collects water during downpours, and gives it off continuously for a long time. And you don't have to dig a swale to accomplish as much. After a year or two, you move the Waterboxx to a new location with a new sapling/seed/plant and carry on.
Pieter Hof explains in his videos that (the taproot of) a tree may burrow down to ground water and even punch through solid rock if given a chance and the Waterboxx offers a sapling/seed that chance.
(To be fair, shipping costs for me personally weren't that bad since i'm also currently located in the Netherlands. Still, if you've the funds, a solid investment, i believe.)
 
allen lumley
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- I am a little worried that for some reason the Facebook page for these people has been shut down !

That -And my past inability to justify The unit prices Quoted is increasing my reluctance to be more positive or hopeful about the long term

survival of this Company !

For the Good of the Crafts ! Big AL
 
Jd Gonzalez
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allen lumley wrote:- I am a little worried that for some reason the Facebook page for these people has been shut down !

That -And my past inability to justify The unit prices Quoted is increasing my reluctance to be more positive or hopeful about the long term

survival of this Company !

For the Good of the Crafts ! Big AL


They are still on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thegreenmusketeer?fref=photo

and on line: https://www.groasis.com/en/latest-updates/latest-updates-about-the-groasis-technology

I am working on a DYI cheap version using two plastic chip and dip trays.

Top part. Dremmel the center open, and drill weep holes around, fill "pockets" with pea gravel to filter water and weigh it down.



Bottom part Dremmel center "tunnel" open, drill weep holes around a place wicks.


I will take pictures once I finish it.
 
Abe Connally
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If you want to replicate this for cheaper, use a 5 gallon bucket set next the seedling with a funnel for the lid (make this easily with a bit of tarp or billboard vinyl). In the bottom of the bucket add a hole with a tube and a wick. Bury the other end of the wick to the side of the seedling. Mulch around everything like normal and fill that bucket.
 
Abe Connally
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you want to have as deep of a container as possible to hold more water, but also to provide some wind protection for the seedling. Those trays might fit the top of a bucket or deeper container and work as the funnel lid.

Don't worry about it growing up the center, that adds too much complexity. 2 shorter buckets (like 3 gallon ones) can make a protected area around a seedling is more flexible and easy to remove.
 
Wayne Mackenzie
Posts: 113
Location: Sunizona Az., USA @ 4,400' Zone 8a
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greening the desert
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mike mclellan wrote:Elle,
I am a Wyoming expat  now living north of you in just as dry, but not as windy Helena, MT.  I started using Irripans this past summer on my fruit trees and plan to expand using them this coming planting season. They originated in Israel being originally called Tal-ya (water of God).  They do not use a wicking mechanism like the groasis waterboxxes.  I like the two-pronged way these work in that they completely shade out grass and collect water. Using the figures provided on the website I figure that .04 inches of rain falling on the surface of one irrripan provides one inch of water into the central opening where your tree/shrub grows. That means those usually useless, in terms of wetting the soil, thunder showers we all get here in Rocky Mountain country can actually contribute to irrigating your young trees.   They shade out grass competition and collect water and dew, depositing it in the center of the rectangular shaped box.  I lined the outside of each one with small stones to discourage voles trying to dig under them ( I have a LOT of voles). I got the idea from Jack Spirko's podcast. 

These are new on the market, only a couple of years from what I can tell.  I am NOT a paid endorser in any way. Check out the info here and make your decisions yourselves. Oh, the irripans (Tal-yas) are a lot cheaper Than groasis waterboxxes.  http://irripan.com ; I think this website will connect you to distributors of the irripans. 

How are the Irripans working out?
 
Wayne Mackenzie
Posts: 113
Location: Sunizona Az., USA @ 4,400' Zone 8a
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greening the desert
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Tree tube with Tal-Ya pan. Tree is a Ecos pear from Oikos Tree Crops.
Picture1218161755_1.jpg
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Ben Zumeta
Posts: 185
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
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dog duck hugelkultur
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I like the video and demonstration of how it works, but still don't see why this would work better than woody debris surrounding the sapling/seed. Or straw, or ideally a mixed mulch that includes bird excrement. I suppose this would be a good start for those in a barren desert, but in most of the US people are literally paying to get rid of their brush or burn it. Moreover, the wood will contain fungal inoculations that I imagine the plastic box does not.
 
Wayne Mackenzie
Posts: 113
Location: Sunizona Az., USA @ 4,400' Zone 8a
1
greening the desert
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Ben Zukisian wrote:I like the video and demonstration of how it works, but still don't see why this would work better than woody debris surrounding the sapling/seed. Or straw, or ideally a mixed mulch that includes bird excrement. I suppose this would be a good start for those in a barren desert, but in most of the US people are literally paying to get rid of their brush or burn it. Moreover, the wood will contain fungal inoculations that I imagine the plastic box does not.

I've went through two dump trucks of wood chips on my property & still have one load left. The problem with wood chips are they stop light rain from reaching the soil/roots. Under the pan are wood chips too. The soil around the box has lots of chips in the upper layer as well. If we had stronger winter storms like the summer Monsoon, the chips would work great, but there would also be much more water anyway.

I inoculate with fungi & use Soil Moist as well as DriWater.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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