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water distribution, leaf design?  RSS feed

 
                    
Posts: 47
Location: Bainbridge, Wa
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Heya,
This is a curious idea I have been diving into.  I am designing waterways for some land, and am trying to ultimatly do the opposite of a river.
Instead of the bulk water at the bottom being fed by branches of creeks above, I have heavy pond storage that I want to break up into slower moving, less mass energy propelled waterways down hill.

So my question is this:
With all of the natural designs in leaves on every plant in the world, is there any knowledge as to which leaf is designed best for shedding the built energy of water, by breaking up droplets as it runs down? 

Other inquiries I have are which leaves are best designed for capturing dew and directing accumulated water droplets to the stalk.


I hope my questions make sense, I am trying to design by nature's pre exposed designs.

russell
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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I think keyline cultivation of the land suits your design needs a little better.

The larger shape of a leaf is determined directly by the tensile forces applied by the fibers holding it together. In fact, some leaves curl up, or fold, in ways that land cannot.

The shape of your land is a given, and the deeper you try to exert control over it, the more energy, time, and money you're likely to spend.

I think you might really enjoy P. A. Yeomans' books (available through this website, I recommend The Keyline Plan to start with): the methods he developed to address the sorts of issues you raise seem particularly elegant.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9691
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Keyline plowing is almost a leaf shape, isn't it?  With the ridge being the central vein? And the plowlines being the veins coming out from that?



 
Paul Cereghino
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Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I'd agree that Yeomans seems to have the most elegant solution for distributing water over sloping land using gravity.

Most natural systems involving liquid and gravity tend to concentrate flow rather then disperse -- even leaves.  Can't think of an exception.

Biological organisms seem to use osmosmotic gradients or pump.  Any examples?
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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I live in an area where there is a lot of wetland..most of the people here that want water over a large part of their property dig sequeces of ponds that run one into another..as ground levels drop..there is seldom much of a drop around here as there is a lot of flattish land..but even here on our properpty we have a two level pond with an island and two channels bewteen the two ponds..and then there is a drainage and overflow ditch that the water overflow goes into..the plan for the future is to dig another pond or two at intervals along the overflow ditch..and we also have a small pondish rounded area of the beginning of the ditch near a swamp where the county water runs off onto the property.
 
rose macaskie
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I have a plant, a succulent with a flower like a dandy lion, whose leaves form into a cup shape in the rain. They also end up adquiring a  hole in the cup shape in the rain.  so first they seem to try to carch water and then to behave like a colander. A rim of dust often gets left in the cup shape, I have fotos of this. I dont know what the name of th eplant is t is someone left tucked in behind a drain pipe in the next door house and i took part of it, to try as a cutting, i thought that maybe it was a present from an unknown person  because i grow cuttings of my plants and leave then potted on  the street,  in a greening up madrid effort.
      I can't, at first al least, find the photoraph of all this. rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
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there must be an exception to leaves concentrating the flow of water, plants do so many different things. Many leaves are hairy some with such small hairs that they aren't visible to the eye this is  true of both the encina meditereanean oak or holly oak and the olive that have the same adaptation to the meditereanean climate as cactuses have the same reactions to the desert though they belong to many differentn species of plants.
  the underside of an olive and evergreen oak leaves is white and very reflective, they take on the colour of the ground below in strong sunlight and the reflective surface is said to be made up of tiny hairs. THat a leaf reflects light must be good inthe hot mediteranean summer. lots of leaves are hairy a nettle leaf for instance i  hairy, i have not studied them wet to see what the water does on the leaf suface.
  There are special sufaces that are called hydrophobic so that drops of water doremain drops instead of coating the leaf with a film of water stay as drops this means they  fall of the leaf more easily, this happens on lotus leaves. Apparently the leaves have tiny points on them that are waxy and hold up the drops of liquid. look up hydrophobic if you want a description of this. The rose petal does this too but as well as being coverd with little peaks that make the drop have a high contact angle an dremain nearly sphere shaped, they have trenches in the leaf and the conbination of trenches and waxy peaks means drops that stick to the petals even when you hold the rose upside down.

    Moss takes its mouisture and nutrients from the air, it dries out in dry seasons to reappear in wet ones, its roots anchor it to the spot. Is this the same for ferns whose life cycle is similar to that of moss I am not sure..
    I know a place that most of the vegetacion has been killed by herbicides were a plant with a lot of hairs on the leaves  lives, caalled  in spanish Velosilla as does moss. it would seem to catch moisture as moss does.
        A wetting agent would make water coat  the suface. Maybe some plants produce wetting agents .
    Grass has hairs and it gets drenched with dew, i wondered if it attracts dew more than other plants do it is full of glass from the silica Roland Ennos, that would maybe make it colder i think colder surfaces catch more dew. Would the hairs make the dew stay on the leaves so that grass could make the most of foliar absorption.

    Foliar feeding, a way of fertilizing plants  implies foliar absorption. The leaves only absorb nutrients when they are wet. 

  I have just read an article about how the water does increase the water content in in junipers after a rainfall event  though the water has not wet the ground.  They did an experiment when they wet the trees but covered the ground with plastic so as not to wet the earth. This would mean tha tplants in dry areas benefit from rain that hardley wets the ground, and the wetign of the leaves did mean greater moisture in the plant. the ecperiment would mean  it would mean that the aerial part of plants allows them to absorb dew too.
    If this is so, it is to the advantage of the plant if rain stays on the leaves at least wheat night as thwater can behave like a magnifying glass and concentrate sulight burning plant when the suns out. 
 
Paul Cereghino
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Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I remember now one time I wanted to distribute water from a point source.  I put a hose at that point, and left it running, and then started digging pits and channels so that the water flowed from pocket to pocket, and then covered the whole thing in mulch to stabilize the new topograpy... Sounds like Brenda's idea... forests capture water with pit and hummock topography, and it trickles from pit to pit...
 
                    
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Individual leaves often concentrate water flow, but a large assembly of leaves (ie, a tree) spreads out the flow and breaks up the energy.

I have seen some permaculture designs for small waterways that are made of ceramic or concrete - it makes use of sine wave flow, and the channel alternatively narrows and widens. These design elements increase turbulence and friction in the stream channel, which reduce the energy.

A series of waterfalls and pools also can be used to break up the energy. Each pool can be designed so that when it is full, some of the water flows directly downhill to the next pool, while some water flows sideways, distributing it out across the landscape.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Jonathan_Byron wrote:I have seen some permaculture designs for small waterways that are made of ceramic or concrete - it makes use of sine wave flow, and the channel alternatively narrows and widens. These design elements increase turbulence and friction in the stream channel, which reduce the energy.


It sounds like you mean flowforms. This is an anthroposophic design, not necessarily a permaculture one. Probably useful in a wide range of circumstances, though.
 
Ben Zumeta
Posts: 178
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
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dog duck hugelkultur
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Large conifers absorb 75% of rainfall before it hits the ground here, and they do so in the winter when it actually rains unlike our deciduous trees. The redwoods do the most overall absorption due to their size and dominance here and their leaves fan and flatten out more and more as you go down in the canopy. I understand doug firs absorb fog even faster than redwoods (citing a Berkeley study) and western hemlocks have the highest leaf surface to footprint ratio in North America (and are therefore most efficient shade growers), which would seem to make them very effective water/energy absorbers as well. It may differ if you are in a winter wet or summer wet season climate but don't forget conifers when it comes to water!
 
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