From old to new planting methods
Until the 20th century farmers sew their grains random on the soil by hand. In the beginning of the 20th century farmers learned that sowing seeds with a machine on rows meant that they needed less seed and had much higher crops. Because of the improved sowing technique the germination rate of sowing raised and it was not necessary anymore to sow random. The cause of the higher production is that by sowing on rows the light of the sun shines deeper between the rows touching all leaves, also the lower ones. In this way the lower leaves don’t die because of a lack of light and keep on assimilating. The assimilation surface of the plants is therefore higher and the production capacity higher too.
With trees we notice that planting techniques are based on the same old techniques of farmers in the 19th century: random planting very high numbers of saplings per hectare. This is done because the success rate of planting with the traditional methods is low. By planting more trees than needed, the planter still hopes to have a 100% coverage of the area. If after a few years too many trees have survived, a part of these trees is taken out. This system is costly and not efficient: first too many trees are planted as the success rate is unsecure and then a part has to be taken out as they compete with each other causing a lower output.
With the Groasis waterboxx the planting result success rate will go to 100%. That means savings on planting material and savings on work afterwards. The waterboxx costs are paid by these savings making the use of it cost neutral.
How to create more biomass
If planting on rows has a positive effect on the crop of grains, then we can think of using the same method in tree plantations:
- Plant on rows
- As a result the sunlight goes deep into the wood and touches all leaves so that the whole tree keeps on assimilating
The top of a wood planted with the traditional method looks like a mountainous area.
The total assimilation surface of the leaves of the trees per hectare is easy to check on the following image and in the following tree leave surface calculation document
In the calculation we compare one hectare planted on 7 x 7 meter resulting in 196 trees and one hectare with trees planted on 7 x 14 meter resulting in 98 trees.
In both calculations the trees have a height of 15 meter. The trees planted on 7 x 7 meter have lost their leaves until 11 meter high leaving 4 meter with leaves. Both sides of the trees are covered. This results in 11,200 m2 of assimilation surface. The trees planted on 7 x 14 meter have lost their leaves until 3 meter high leaving 12 meter with leaves. Both sides of the trees are covered. This results in 16,800 m2 of assimilation surface.
This means that one hectare planted on rows with 50% less trees (= 50% less planting costs) results in a 50% higher leave surface which leads to a 50% higher biomass production.
Of course this technique is not able to use if we need trees that we want to use to saw beams with. But as more timber is used to produce biomass for paper, bio fuel, chip plates, etc. this new planting method might be very promising.
Traditional methods to increase crops
During a visit to the Botanical Garden in Quito Ecuador I learned that the original indigenous people from South America had developed a method to increase their crop result through the method of sowing two seeds in one place at the time. As the germination ratio of old varieties was not as high as with modern varieties, it could happen that only 60% germinated after sowing. If they sowed one seed, this could lead to 40% uncovered area. Noticing this method I also saw that they planted them a bit wider as when they should plant individual seed, but not double as wide. I concluded that through this method they created a far higher crop security and up to 50% more biomass. In the third picture you can see that one of the two seeds didn’t germinate, but because of the followed method there is still a plant. Look at the images of corn planted with two seeds together, a copy of the traditional ancient Inca cultivation method, in the Botanical Garden of Quito Ecuador.. This method inspired me to the development of the eight shape” opening in the center of the box.
TwintreeTM planting method
It looked like that this ancient method was not used anymore. But in Peru we found that the method is still in use. You will be surprised about the incredibly good result. Here you see photos of modern plant technology with twinplant corn in Peru during 2008. During our study on trees we have noticed that it seems that two trees planted as a twin, produce over 50% more biomass on the same place as one single tree. On the images here under you see various examples of places where we found coincidently a single tree and a TwintreeTM planted aside of each other at the same time. You can check the following images and see the positive effect of TwintreesTM.
Look at the beautiful collection of photos of trees growing together as twin plant.
It is clear that at least on these places that I found a TwintreeTM produces more bio mass. I assume it possible that through planting with a TwintreeTM system on rows, the bio mass per hectare can perhaps be double of the present planting methods. In order to check whether there is a TwintreeTM effect AquaPro started planting tests following this method in 2010 in Spain in a 5 year program on 5 different places.
The Groasis waterboxx offers you the options to plant one, two or three trees per box. If you want to plant the trees individual, the waterboxx offers the possibility to have a close to 100% success rate of planting. You can choose to cut the smallest of the two planted seeds or trees after one year. This results in a positive mass selection that allows you to continue with the strongest individual of the two. Aside of that you can also do tests with TwintreeTM planting in order to check whether there is indeed a positive TwintreeTM bio mass production effect.