One way to restore degraded soil is to plant trees—lots of them. The catch is that seeds and saplings won’t grow in such soil, but if a young tree becomes large enough that its roots can reach groundwater it stands an excellent chance of thriving. Previous efforts often followed two paths: cumbersome and impractical irrigation techniques, or tossing a few million seeds out of an airplane and hoping for the best. Ruys’s innovation was to develop a doughnut-shaped waxed-paper cocoon, the base of which is buried underground. It contains the sapling, enough water to sustain the tree while it establishes a root system, and a small lozenge of beneficial fungi. The cocoon is cheap, easy to plant, scalable—a community can plant hundreds of acres of them in a short time—and biodegradable. Rubio told me that in the desert regions of Spain where his organization is working, other efforts have resulted in a success rate of ten to twenty per cent; “the cocoon,” he said, “is providing around ninety-five per cent survival rate of trees.”
Using the system mentioned in the article we could potentially complete all our major tasks in the fall/winter and greatly reduce the time we spend at the sites in the summer months. I don't think this would work at all of our sites (we don't have access to water at all of them - though we do have a water trailer) but it could be a huge help at some.
We are getting ready to try a couple new techniques out this fall (new for the general restoration community but fairly standard in the permaculture community) and I think I will try out the system mentioned in the article next year. I'm going to be running a series of experiments that will hopefully result in some published research to prove that the new systems work and I think adding this new system for our dry sites could be really interesting.
Depending on the cost I think I might try this new system out at my own property - could be a great way to get some of my fruit trees established!
Thanks again for sharing!
Won't you please? Please won't you be my neighbor? - Fred Rogers. Tiny ad:
2018 Homesteader PDC (permaculture design course) & ATC (appropriate technology course) in Montanahttps://permies.com/wiki/74470/permaculture-projects/Homesteader-PDC-permaculture-design-ATC