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Groasis waterboxx to initially grow trees automatically  RSS feed

 
tony phamm
Posts: 18
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Here's a video in case you're not familiar:
http://www.dewharvest.com/insights-from-nature.html

So I'm planning on buying a few of these to help jump start some tree growths. I'm planning on growing near my area in the hot/dry desert of California (Southern). I had a few questions. If I plant some of these and just leave them there to grow, will they eventually grow a good root system to allow micro bio diversity (basically make the soil fertile again) which will allow for smaller shrubs and bushes to grow and take shade and survive right below the trees, which will then allow for grass and weeds to grow? I basically want to make this desert into a forest again, but I want to be as hands off or on as possible, depending on if I feel like it. Is this possible, or do I really need to take care of the land and do some "permaculturing"?

Another question is how far apart should I plant these trees if I want to have some good green coverage across the land? What type of trees for Cali dry/hot area?

What I really wanted to experiment was to see if I just use these waterboxxes to grow the "starter" species which are the trees, then a chain reaction happens and a forest can then be realized (from the description above) with little human input thereafter. If this works, it's possible to reforest the whole world. I mean they already proved it time and time again, but I want to do it to see for myself. Plus maybe I'll retire in this oasis in the middle of the Cali desert I started for myself after 20 years

And here's what I DON'T want ending up:
https://aneyefortexas.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/treeoflife.jpg
http://www.drumetiimontane.ro/sites/default/files/actualitate/2012/07/copacul-vietii.jpg

A big o tree with no surroundings, grass/bushes growing below it.

I had another question actually. Will the NATURAL desert produce basically what it usually produces which is small trees that are spaced out with barely any ground coverage and nothing resembling a forest, because it's just naturally a desert due to location/weather. And is this waterboxx then only ideal for land that is supposed to be naturally fertile but we just over used it so much it has been desertified (meaning the weather in that location is wetter than a natural desert)?
 
don duncan
Posts: 3
Location: Henderson, NV
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Most important: Will your ground/area support your forest plan? You need to know before you waste time/money. If so, you can't start soon enough (yesterday?). It's the 2nd most sound investment. Is there an aquifer the trees can reach? Ask locals. Look for trees. But know for sure, before hand. I "think" that's all you need. You wouldn't even need that if you had a good well, lived there, and had the energy to build up an artificial support infrastructure. See: Shamus O'Leary's (or Jake Mace's) permaculture forest in Phoenix. Call them for advice, seeds, and saplings. 

Notice I said "energy" not money. It doesn't take a lot of money if you use your imagination. The Groasis Waterboxx can be copied legally (but not sold) for a tenth of the cost. Walls (wind abatement, thermal mass, humidity control) can be built as high as you want (15'?) using adobe (rammed earth). The material is free, the labor is manual & mental. You need to study first, a lot. You can never prepare too much. And the more you study, the richer you become. No one can tax or steal that kind of wealth. And you can take it with you anywhere in the world.
 
Daron Williams
pollinator
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Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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What about making a rock pile around the tree? I would think softball sized angular rocks could work well - make one inner layer and then place at least one more outer layer of rocks to cover the inner layer. This should result in a sun exposed outer layer of rocks and a shaded inner layer. As long as there is space for air to flow through the outer layer of rocks I would think you would get condensation on the inner layer resulting in a similar process as the waterboxx. The rocks would also provide habitat for lizards, snakes and other critters. Harder to move from plant to plant but could provide a similar function and potentially be free if you already have rocks on your property.

The waterboxx does look interesting though and I think it is a good idea. I would use it around the trees I wanted to get established but I would also try placing a mulch layer in the area around the box and then plant desert shrubs and herbaceous plants that can handle a desert environment in the mulch layer. When we think of forests we tend to focus on trees but the tree is just one element of the entire forest. If you want to establish a forest I would recommend looking at other forests in your area and mimic the structure you find there. This might mean planting a lot more shrubs and other smaller plants with just a handful of trees. But this would mimic the natural succession of the landscape and would likely give you better results than just planting trees alone. Overtime you could add additional trees as the soil improves.

In addition to planting the plants I would also recommend seeing what you can do to improve the soil. Placing mulch can help a lot but this can also be labor intensive. Another good option is to incorporate a regular chop and drop cycle to your management plan. So if you plant a bunch of shrubs (nitrogen fixing ones tend to work well!) you can go through once or twice a year during the cooler/wetter times and cut some of the branches and just drop them in place. Overtime this will build up the soil and can also be used to ensure your trees are not over topped by the shrubs. Combined with a good layer of herbaceous plants (might be limited in a true desert environment - only when the rains come? Some grasses might work) you could end up with a relatively good organic layer in your soil that would serve as the foundation for your forest.

Thanks for sharing the link to the waterboxx and good luck!
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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For very small items, a bundt cake pan might work. Another work around, would be to cut a hole in the bottom of a Rubbermaid tub or a plastic bucket and attach a PVC pipe with a suitable flange. Slide it over the young plant and fill with water.
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[Thumbnail for 41VDKTYZVTL._SY400_.jpg]
Bundt cake pans are $0.10 cents at yard sales
 
Marco Banks
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I've looked at the waterboxx for several years and I'd utilize that technology except it's so damn expensive.  Realistically, it costs less than $3 to manufacture these.  Probably $2.  Its just basic plastic injection molding and a little wick to pull the water to the soil.  Why are they so stupidly marked-up?  If they were to sell them at a reasonable mark-up -- like $8  --- I'd by 100 of them and plant trees all over the place.   But they are about $25 a pop if you buy them in a 10-pack. 

If they really want people to use their product to reforest dry places, they are going to have to make them affordable for mass use.  I don't have any problem with them making a healthy profit off their product, but for its application and the kinds of people that would really like to utilize it on a wide scale, they need to put it at price point where people can afford them.  It's cheaper for me to install a simple hand-turned valve system, some PCV pipe and sprinkler heads than it is to buy these things.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Marco Banks wrote:I've looked at the waterboxx for several years and I'd utilize that technology except it's so damn expensive.  Realistically, it costs less than $3 to manufacture these.  Probably $2.  Its just basic plastic injection molding and a little wick to pull the water to the soil.  Why are they so stupidly marked-up?  If they were to sell them at a reasonable mark-up -- like $8  --- I'd by 100 of them and plant trees all over the place.   But they are about $25 a pop if you buy them in a 10-pack. 

If they really want people to use their product to reforest dry places, they are going to have to make them affordable for mass use.  I don't have any problem with them making a healthy profit off their product, but for its application and the kinds of people that would really like to utilize it on a wide scale, they need to put it at price point where people can afford them.  It's cheaper for me to install a simple hand-turned valve system, some PCV pipe and sprinkler heads than it is to buy these things.


Exactly.  I'd love to try 20 of the out but I'm not paying that silly price.
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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A heavy duty plastic bag could be formed in much the same shape as the bundt cake pan, and then the open part of the bag could be tied around the trunk of the sapling. This would work fine on the level, but probably not on a slope. Probably best in a climate dry enough that it wouldn't become a mosquito nest.

Some items are shipped in a cardboard box, and inside that box is a plastic bag. The same Contraption could be used, inside the cardboard box. This should prevent accidental damage to the plastic bag. Should also prevent overheating of the water.
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