Question for Groasis? Find them in the Frequently Asked Questions

General information Groasis

Information about Groasis B.V.

Groasis has been founded by Pieter Hoff, a former lilybreeder, grower and exporter. Through his experience in the flower industry Pieter Hoff learned that worldwide ground water levels decline with high speed. If things don’t change, mankind is out of irrigation water within a few centuries. This thought created the foundation of his company that focuses on the development of producing water from air techniques.

Pieter Hoff plant trees on the most difficult places on earth with his intelligent bucketGroasis BV
Franseweg 9
4651PV Steenbergen
Holland
Tel +31167 547554
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Number Chamber of Commerce Breda: 58403396
V.A.T.: NL85.302.46.25B01

Bank details
Swiftcode/BIC: TRIONL2U
IBAN (account number): NL34 TRIO 0197 6840 68 in the name of Groasis
Full name Bank: Triodos bank

What is the Growboxx® plant cocoon?

With the Growboxx® plant cocoon you can plant a tree in combination with 4 shrubs, vegetables or wild flowers. You can plant trees in different climates and different types of areas. You can think of planting trees on rocks, mountains, deserts or eroded areas. The box is biodegradable and can be used only one time. 

While planting with the Growboxx® plant cocoon, you will enjoy the Triple 90 Benefits: while planting you use 90% less water, you plant 90% cheaper and +90% of your plants while survive. To pre-order the Growboxx®, visit our online store.

What is the Waterboxx® plant cocoon?

With the 10 times reusable Waterboxx® plant cocoon one or two trees, bushes, vegetables or corn can be planted in the center of the box in eroded areas, on rocks or in deserts. In general, users will plant two trees. The Waterboxx® plant cocoon offers the possibility to plant two trees at the same time giving the chance to cut the smallest tree after the first year and taking care that if one of the two planted has died, you still have one left. This way of planting leads to a close to 100% planting result.

While planting with the Waterboxx® plant cocoon, you will enjoy the Triple 90 Benefits: while planting you use 90% less water, you plant 90% cheaper and +90% of your plants while survive. To order the Waterboxx®, visit our online store.


The usage of the Growboxx® plant cocoon

How does the Growboxx® plant cocoon works?

You can put 16 liters of water in the biodegradable Growboxx® plant cocoon. The Growboxx® stimulates capillary and prevents evaporation caused by the sun and prevents competition caused by competitive herbs. During a period of a couple of months till a year the box provides the tree of water. Besides that, the grower can grow 4 young vegetables, bushes or flowerplants in the plant plugs of the lid. The young plants will grow hydroponically. 

After a year, the roots system of the tree has grown deep enough to survive on its own and the box starts to decompose. The Growboxx® plant cocoon will provide the plant with extra nutrients. 

The Growboxx® plant cocoon has the following characteristics: 

  • With the Growboxx® plant cocoon you can plant a young tree in combination with 4 vegetables, shrubs or flowers; 
  • You can plant big and mature trees with the Growboxx® plant cocoon;
  • In the middle of the Growboxx® plant cocoon is space for the young tree. You can put the seeds in the corner of the lid (in the seed pockets);
  • The Growboxx® plant cocoon can collect rain water through the specially designed lid;
  • The Growboxx® plant cocoon gives every day a small amount of water to the plant; 
  • The rise of the capillary water is promoted to the top of the soil under the Growboxx® plant cocoon;
  • Evaporation of capillary water is minimized; 
  • Preventing a monoculture by planting different trees in combination with shrubs or flowers. 

Curious about the other benefits of the Growboxx® plant cocoon? Check out the video below

How many years do I use the Growboxx® plant cocoon?

The Growboxx® plant cocoon can be used only 1 time. The box and the lid are made from recycled paper and therefore the Growboxx® plant cocoon is biodegradable. The benefit of the Growboxx® plant cocoon, is that you don't have to remove the box after a year from the tree. 

What is the diameter of the planting hole in the middle of the Growboxx® plant cocoon?

7 centimeters, the same size as the Waterboxx® plant cocoon. 

How deep do I have to plant the Growboxx® plant cocoon?

Planting the tree "flange" (where the trunk meets the first root) below the soil level leads to "girdling". Girdling is when the roots wrap around the trunk and choke the tree. In normally heavier soils, this is a big problem. 

The only way that planting the cover 3 cm from the soil level would work in the U.S. (except for western deserts and east coast sandy soils, maybe), is if the Growboxx® cocoon is buried, but the tree flange is still kept AT the soil level. But this requires you to fill the Growboxx® plant cocoon central hole with soil; and then you have the odd problem that when the box bio-degrades, there is a hole plus a fragile column of soil around the tree roots.

According to professionally accepted guidelines in the U.S., we would not plant a tree with the Growboxx® plant cocoon buried more than 3 cm (or 15%). This means that during the first year as the Growboxx® plant cocoon is slowly bio-degrading, the water reservoir will be mostly above the ground. 

When is it a good idea to bury the Growboxx 50% or 100%?

Never bury 50%. If the tree is the main objective, and the 4 plants (either plants or bushes) are an extra, we advise the surface of the box to be equal to the soil. This way it can still catch rain, and/or, you can do a refill through the siphon if necessary under extreme dry circumstances. 

What are the plant plug levels?

The plant plugs hang in the water. They have a rounded opening in the bottom and four cutted side openings that the roots can use to enter. The water comes into the plant plug and makes the soil wet. To help, expand the bottom opening with a small screwdriver and the side openings with a knife.

What are the dimensions of the plant plugs of the Growboxx®?

Top diameter is 6 centimeters, bottom diameter is 2 centimeters and 7 centimeters deep. 

How do I plant in the plant plugs of the Growboxx®?

We have excellent experiences with the germination of seeds. Put the germinated seed on top of the pod and cover it with 1 centimeter of soil. 

Why should I germinate seeds

With germination you take the risk of failure of germination away. You take again some 4cms of soil, sow only one germinated seed, and cover it with maximum 1 (!) cm of soil. The seed will root within two days and reach the water within a week.

Using seed from nature

You can use selected seeds and sow them. In areas with plants, there is always a seed stick in the soil. If you use the top soil from around the Growboxx® while planting, and fill the seed pockets with it, this seed will germinate automatically and you get plants that fit there within the ecosystem. if you only want to plant a tree and don't want seed to germinate in the seed pockets, then take soil from deeper in the ground, it has less seeds.

Sowing seed in the plant plugs of the Growboxx®

If you have enough seed, you can just put approximately 4 centimeters of soil, sow several seeds, then cover the seeds with 2 to 3 centimeters of soil. The seed will germinate after a while if the planting period is not too dry. In the warmer or hotter periods this will not function since the seed will wait with germinating until the danger of drying out is gone.

Does the reservoir give water into the 4 plugs? Before the roots penetrate into the reservoir, what keeps the roots from drying out?

The plant pockets hang 5 cm in the water. The soil in it will get wet at the start. The seeds or plants will root within a week and root into the water of the box. 

If we plant only a Fall tree in the Growboxx®, in our mild winters, how likely will it be to plant anything in spring in the 4 pods?

If you have the feeling that it is too late to use the plant pockets, it is advisable to postpone the planting until after the winter, as soon as Spring starts. 

How do I plant grass?

Grass that multiplies via underground roots

You take an unrooted or rooted cutting and pull it through the little opening in the water below. You fill the plant plug after you have put the cutting in the water in such a way that still approximately 5 cm of the grass is visible. It will then start to root and its roots will reach the bottom. Once the box starts to degrade, the roots will establish in the soil.

Grass that multiplies via seed

You have a plant of it, you fill the plant pocket with app. 4 cm of soil, then plant the grass plant, and then fill the plant pocket with soil around the plant, fix it a bit (not too much) and the grass will start to root and by itself root into the water.

Do I have to bury the Growboxx® if the surface land is a lawn and I want to plant grass?

If the main purpose is planting plants (either grass, or bedding plants, or other plants) and not the trees, we suggest to plant the Growboxx® in such a way that the surface of the cover is around 3 cm above the surface of the soil. Once the box collapses, the grass is not planted too deep. Over time the plant place will be filled with dust, and eventually the grass will be equal to the surface. You can also fill the holes after a year with some soil, if necessary.


The usage of the Waterboxx® plant cocoon

How does the Waterboxx® plant cocoon works?

The ten times reusable Waterboxx® plant cocoon collects water through capturing rain water and producing water through condensation. It stimulates capillary and prevents the evaporation caused by the sun and prevents competition caused by competitive herbs. It provides its collected water to the tree over a long period of time. Because of this it can play an important role in CO2 capture, anti-erosion and anti-desertification programs, food- and wood production.

  • With the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon a tree is planted on top of the soil, so that the capillary is not be destroyed when planting the tree
  • In the middle of the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon there is space to put a seed, a plant or a tree;
  • This plant can develop its roots under the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon;
  • The Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon produces water via artificial condensation;
  • It collects rainwater;
  • It distributes the collected water to the plant on a daily base;
  • It stimulates the rise of the capillary water to the top of the soil under the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon;
  • It prevents evaporation of the capillary water;
  • It prevents the development of weeds around the plant;
  • It prevents grazing of the plants by a certain variety of animals;
  • It prevents erosion of the soil around the plant;
  • It prevents heating of the soil around the plant;
  • It stimulates a balanced temperature in the root area;
  • The advantage of planting on the soil is that the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon can also be used for planting on rocks;
  • The Waterboxx® plant cocoon can be used for 10 years while planting 10 to 13 trees.

To learn more about the functioning of the Waterboxx® plant cocoon, please watch the video below:

Can I plant seeds in the Waterboxx® plant cocoon?

We advise not to plant seeds in the Waterboxx® plant cocoon. Always use saplings instead.

How long does the tree needs the Waterboxx® plant cocoon?

As soon as you see that the trees starts to grow faster – just notice the growing speed of the young branches - it has reached the ground water and it is able to survive without the box. You just lift it to take it off, replace the old wick with a new one, and re-use the box for the next tree.

How many years do I use the Waterboxx® plant cocoon?

In principle the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon is used until the moment that the tree can survive on its own. Normally that is after 6 months up to one year. We expect that the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon can be used around 10 years so that you can use it for 10 to 20 trees/bushes.

What do you do when the stem starts to crowd the hole?

That is the signal that the tree does not need the Waterboxx® plant cocoon anymore. You lift the Waterboxx® plant cocoon off the tree, clean it, replace the wick and use it to plant the next tree.

If the cover of the Waterboxx® plant cocoon is covered with sand, does the condensation process still work?

When the top of the Waterboxx® plant cocoon is covered with sand, the condensation does not work. The collection of rain is no problem, it will still enter the box. If there is no condensation we have less water available. However, the functionality of condensation is not influencing the box’s planting result. In the whole Middle East, and many other desert areas, it is so warm at night, that no condensation occurs. We however still have excellent planting results.

What do I have to do after I’ve taken the Waterboxx® plant cocoon away?

You take off the box, put a cloth made of a natural material (cotton, hemp, coco, wool, etc.) on the same place as where the box was in order to keep the capillary column intact, cover the cloth with 10 cm of sand (4 inches) to prevent it from blowing away and use the box for the next tree. You can also put no cloth but only sand if there is no danger of the sand being blown away.

When do I need to lift the Waterboxx® plant cocoon from the tree?

If the growth of the trees goes well, you can sometimes even plant more than one tree per year. You lift the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon off the tree as soon as you see that the branches really start to grow fast. This is the sign the tree gives you that he is not growing anymore from the water in the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon, but that he found water deep in the soil. In most circumstances, we find that the tree is independent from the Waterboxx® plant cocoon after 9 months. You then lift it, replace the wick with a new one, and use the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon for the next tree.

How many rain does the Waterboxx® plant cocoon need to fill itself?

75 mm (3 inches) of rain is sufficient to fill the box completely.

Does the water in the Waterboxx® plant cocoon become dirty after a while?

The water in the box remains clear and has no problems with bacteria, algae or what so ever.

Does the Waterboxx® plant cocoon protect the plant from too much water in the winter?

The Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon protects the tree against overwatering. It works as follows:

1) The Waterboxx® plant cocoon has an overflow to prevent too much water going to the tree;

2) The wick works on the capillary principle: when it is sufficiently humid, it almost stops transporting water from the box to the tree. When it is very dry, the soil gets hygroscopic and the wick’s capillary starts to transport more water;

We plant in ski-resort San Isidro Spain above (!) the tree line. There is a heavy layer of snow on the boxes and the trees from October to the end of May. Immediately after the thaw, it starts to be extremely hot and dry. Please check this beautiful video of planting the ski resort San Isidro Spain.

Will there be any damage on the Waterboxx® plant cocoon if it is freezing and the box is filled with ice?

No, in general it will not be damaged. The Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon is designed in such a way that the expanding ice is able to find room to expand. This is done by designing the inclination of all the vertical sides in 8°C. So when the water expands to ice between +4°C to -1°C (+39,2°F to +30.2°F), the ice can just go a bit higher - pushes the cover off the box - and find room for expansion. Sometimes there is a heavy layer of snow on top of the cover and it cannot be pushed upwards. If coincidently the water is on its highest level while turning on ice, then in those occasions you may find some broken covers. It is also important to understand that it doesn't matter whether it is -1°C (+30,2°F) or -30°C (-22°F) . Once changed from water into ice – which happens between +4°C and -1°C (+39,2°F to +30.2°F) - the ice doesn't expand any further.


General planting information 

When do I use the Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon?

The Groasis Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon can be used in circumstances where a tree does not get enough water to have the possibility to get started. So the instrument is meant to use in circumstances where there is enough water once the tree has its roots in the soil. On most places on earth, for instance in almost all deserts, there is enough in the soil. The problem is that the seed or the young tree needs a few months or a year help to get deep enough with its roots. You can compare the Groasis Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon with a young seed. In nature it is planted on the soil with the manure of the animal that sticks it to the soil and protects it from eating and from drying out. And by sowing it on the soil the capillary is not destroyed and erosion cannot blow away the soil. Once the seed is germinated and its roots are deep enough, it survives and grows.

The Groasis Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon copies that natural process: it helps the seed or young tree germinate and develop its roots into the soil until it can survive by its own.

Can I plant anything with the Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon?

For the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology it does not matter which species of tree you plant. For the Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon it is just a tree. The technology works with every tree, independent from the species.

The only thing that matters is if the tree fits in the climate. Example: you can plant a date palm with the Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon in Kuwait and you can plant a date palm with the Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon in Spain. Both will start to grow well. However, the date palm in Spain will die in Winter, because of the frost. So aks yourself the question: will the variety survive in the climate? 

How long does it take to plant a tree with the Waterboxx® or Growboxx®?

You can dig holes in advance, this is the main work. Once the holes are ready, you will plant in the first hour +/- 5 trees. After this, you can plant +/- 10 trees per hour.

What are the differences between the Waterboxx®/Growboxx® and irrigation?

  • Classic irrigation is not sustainable. It uses groundwater and the levels of groundwater deepen every year. The Groasis Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon are sustainable and do not use the groundwater; 

  • The Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology is low cost. If you want to start with classic irrigation you need to drill a well, install a pump and a water pipe network and have an electric installation. For the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon this is not necessary: just buy a few boxes and install them;

  • With the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology you can plant on rocks. Drilling a well in rocks and installing a network of water pipes is almost impossible;

  • For classic irrigation in deserts we need to install power installations of electricity. The Groasis Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon do not use energy;

  • You can use saplings while planting with the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology;

  • (Drip)irrigation uses 15 liters of water per day. The Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon use 60 liters of water for the rest of their life. 

Are the Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon re-usable?

Yes, you can use the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon approximately 10 to 13 times in 10 years. Read about here.

No, the Growboxx® plant cocoon isn't re-usable. 

Can I only use the Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon in deserts?

The Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon can be used for the plantation of trees and shrubs in deserts. Multiple successful projects have been carried out in the past in the Saharan Desert and in the Kuwait desert. Both projects gave extremely high survival rates. The projects in the Saharan Desert are carried out by the Sahara Roots Foundation. The projects in the desert of Kuwait have been carried out by Kuwait Oasis

Besides planting trees in deserts, you can use both boxes to plant in all kind of climates. If you want to protect your saplings against heat, frost, wind or you want to plant in another climate or environment where it is hard for a tree to grow by itself, the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology can be used. For example, we have carried out reforestation projects at a Ski slope in Spain, urban farming projects in California, ecosystem restoration projects at an environment park in Canada. To see all our projects, please check this page

What happens to the tree after 1 year?

The instructions of the Waterboxx® plant cocoon can be found on this page. As soon as the twigs start to grow rapidly, it is a signal that the tree can survive by itself. You take the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon off and you can re-use it for the next tree.

You don't need to remove the Growboxx® plant cocoon from the tree. The box is biodegradable, nature will break down the box. 

Do I have to use compost and/or manure?

It is really useful to work with compost if you have it. The trees will grow to 50% faster and will also be healthier. If you have manure, then mix it through your compost. Be careful though: to young manure burns your roots. Manure must be at least one year old before you mix it through your compost.

What if there are no rocks to cover the ground?

When you lift off the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon the tree, cover the ground. The best way to do that is with stones, but any other material will also work. If there are no stones, use straw, weeds, grass or palm leaves. If you do not have this, you can think of mulch, cardboard or clothes. If that is not possible, you can cover the ground with loose soil.

Can I use the Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon on rocky terrain?

Yes, the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology mimics the principles of nature. On this page you find an explanation about planting on rocks and here you find information about combating desertification.

Can the Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon stand against wind?

Yes, winds are not a problem for both boxes. Look at the strong winds in Dubai in this video. As you can see in this instruction video of the Growboxx® plant cocoon, due the special lid you can plant even trees along highways or airports. Winds aren't a problem for the Growboxx® plant cocoon. 

We are planting on a clay soil and have snails

One of the Waterboxx® plant cocoon users came with the following solution if you are planting on a clay soil (80%): He didn’t place clay soil in the eight-shaped hole of the Waterboxx® plant cocoon. During the winter, because it is continuously wet, this soil attracts snails inside the hole. The snails damage the sapling by eating leaves and small branches (e.g. citrus saplings). It is better to put 100% sand that is sharp. It injures snail bodies and also repels them. It was a success! 

We have grazing animals, what do I have to do?

If you look on this page you can see the Growsafe Telescoprotexx plant protector. It protects the plant against grazing animals and it balances the climate.

What is a good and cheap way of fencing an area where you plant trees?

If you want to fence an area, then think of planting 3 rows of bushes, and in between some trees that have dangerous picks, such as the cactus or similar species. This is much cheaper than fencing, and it also creates a better micro climate with less wind.

What if the capillairy water is too deep into the ground for the tree?

There is always humidity in the soil, everywhere, on 3 meters deep. However, the available quantity of the humidity differs. So when the roots of the trees penetrate, they find a certain quantity of humidity. This quantity depends on 4 things:

  1. Annual precipitation
  2. Annual penetration after precipitation
  3. Annual evaporation
  4. Tree cover

I give eight examples.

   1.Horizontal clay soil with a hard pan (this is a thin crust layer of minerals, difficult to penetrate for water)

  • Annual precipitation 300 mm
  • Annual penetration after precipitation 50 mm
  • Annual evaporation 40 mm

Net input = 10 mm. Each 1 mm ingress = 1 liter of water per m2.

   2. Horizontal sandy soil without a hard pan

  • Annual precipitation 300 mm
  • Annual penetration after precipitation 300 mm
  • Annual evaporation 40 mm

Net input = 260 mm

   3. Horizontal clay soil with a hard pan covered with trees

  • Annual precipitation 400 mm (the annual precipitation rises when you have a tree cover on sufficient scaled surface, so 10 ha doesn’t rise the precipitation, 100.000 ha does)
  • Annual penetration after precipitation 250 mm
  • Annual evaporation 40 mm
  • Use of trees 160 mm

Net input = 50 mm

   4. Horizontal sandy soil covered with trees

  • Annual precipitation 400 mm
  • Annual penetration after precipitation 400 mm
  • Annual evaporation 40 mm
  • Use of trees 160 mm

Net input = 200 mm

    5. 25⁰ Inclined clay soil with a hard pan

  • Annual precipitation 300 mm
  • Annual penetration after precipitation 10 mm
  • Annual evaporation 10 mm

Net input = 0 mm

   6. 25⁰ Inclined sandy soil without a hard pan

  • Annual precipitation 300 mm
  • Annual penetration after precipitation 150 mm
  • Annual evaporation 40 mm

Net input = 110 mm

   7. 25⁰ Inclined clay soil with a hard pan covered with trees

  • Annual precipitation 400 mm
  • Annual penetration after precipitation 200 mm
  • Annual evaporation 40 mm
  • Use of trees 160 mm

Net input = 0 mm

   8. 25⁰ Inclined sandy soil covered with trees

  • Annual precipitation 400 mm
  • Annual penetration after precipitation 400 mm
  • Annual evaporation 40 mm
  • Use of trees 160 mm

Net input = 200 mm

You see that the factors of water penetration are 1) precipitation, 2)soil type, 3) inclination of surface and 4) tree cover.

As you understand now, only in cases of example 5 and 7 you have a situation where the available quantity of water on 3 meters deep will almost be zero. However, there is also water rising up, through the capillary system of soil. So there is always a certain quantity of water, no matter how dry it is. Of course, in such cases where hardly no water is available, you have to plant the tree that is capable to survive such circumstances, e.g. Prosopis. 

What are the minimum humidity requirements for usage in the desert?

We even plant in the north of Chile and high, above 4,000 meters in the Andes, where the relative and absolute humidity is extremely low, so you don't need a minimum humidity.

Would it be helpful to use mycorrhizal root dip in planting?

We will always advise you to use a bit of soil and leaves of the species you plant. Take it away from the surface of the soil under an old tree of the species. A quarter of a gallon per planting hole is sufficient, this will inoculate your soil quickly. 

How do I need to cut the taproot?

What happens on top of the plant above the soil – when you prune it you get re-sprouting of the dormant buds – does also happen below the soil: the pruned root re-sprouts, and these re-sprouts do not have the problem of the “stored memory that tells him to grow rounded”. Instead of that, it sprouts and grows again as it does originally = vertically downwards. The new re-sprouts do not have the breaking power that the original primary root has, but they are far better than a superficial rounded growing tap root, that stays in the top soil where there’s none or just a little bit of water available for the plant. This is also the reason why so many trees fall down in cities with strong winds. They are just not anchored.

You can learn everything about how to cut the taproot on this page.

Does a taproot stops growing if I cut it off?

During growing in the nursery, the tap root starts to grow twisted round in the pot and many times it will split itself (you do not have to cut the roots at this stage, as it is still growing in a too little pot), caused by being locked up in the pot. This root will keep on growing rounded after planting. The ‘rounded growing’ has been kind of stored in its memory.


The water in the Groasis Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon

Why do I need 60 liters of water?

There is actually no optimum general quantity. Each species needs, each soils characteristics and each valley’s climate are different. However, it is impossible to communicate a manual for each soil type, each species and each climate. This advise works worldwide on each species, each soil and in each climate. Suppose you have a Tara tree (Ceasalpinia Spinosa), clay soil (that has a better water fixing capacity than sand) and moderate circumstances (temperatures do not rise above +35⁰C). Then you can use less water. Suppose you have a Tara tree (Ceasalpinia Spinosa), sandy soil (that has a little water fixing capacity) and hot circumstances (temperatures above +45⁰C). Then you need more water. Our advise of 60 liters is therefore a safe average advise. So in general people start with the advise and investigate their own local optimum.

What do I need to do if there isn't 60 liters of water available?

I know that solve logistical issues in desert areas is not easy, but the quantity compared to irrigation is really small:
1.    Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology: once in a life time 60 liters
2.    Drip irrigation: eternally each day 15 liters

On this page find an Excel document with a comparison of costs between the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology and the drip irrigation technology.

How many times do I have to refill the Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon?

The quantity of water that the wick gives to the tree, depends on the hygroscopic attraction of the soil. This is the capillary principle: if the soil requires little, the wick gives little. If the soil requires more (e.g. when it is super dry sand or when it is salted) the wick gives more. If the heat period is two to four months, then in general no refill is necessary. If the heat period is longer, we have on average one refill. That is why we have a cap in it. After the heat period a refill is not necessary anymore.

If you grow vegetables in the lid of the Growboxx® plant cocoon, it is needed to refill the Growboxx® multiple times. 

What type of water do I need to use to fill the box?

All types of water can be used. But with saline water the tree must be able to deal with this kind of water. In this report, about planting in La Chocolatera in Ecuador, which is one of the hardest places on earth to plant a tree, you find more information about planting with saline water.

Can I only plant once a year when there is one rainy season?

You have to distinguish two ways of planting after the first stage: The first stage is the planting of the saplings in pots. This can be done with either seeds, or via cuttings. After that you can work in two ways:

  1. In two phases. First in a small plug (width x height = app. 6x10cm) and then transplant to a big one (width x height = app. 12x15cm).
  2. In one phase: immediately in a big pot or plastic bag.

I suggest to work in two phases. So first the small plug, then the big pot or plastic bag. The reason is that the germination of the seeds, or the rooting of the cuttings is a risky process, and if you have only 50% success ratio, you lose little space and little expensive soil.

Always check what the local experiences are, but in general we can say that in the tropics, where day length is approximately equal, you can sow your seed or make cuttings almost all year round.

Outside the tropics, either in the northern or southern hemisphere, you can plant or sow with the season, once a year. For the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology we need saplings that are at least one year old. So after one year of being in the big plastic bag in the nursery, we bring the saplings to the field.

With the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology you can plant any day of the year in the tropics. Outside the tropics you can also plant any day, if the frost is not colder than -5⁰C (+23⁰F). When you expect a colder frost, we advise to stop planting after October 1 in the northern hemisphere, and start again after the winter.

If we plant during the rainy season and water is difficult to access, is it enough to fill the planting hole with water?

The Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon can refill themselves. However, you need to fill the planting hole one day before planting with water. 5 Gallons if the soil is clay, 10 gallons if the soil is sandy. The day after you plant, if you still expect rain, we advise you to add the prescribed 1 gallon in the middle to establish the tree and 1 gallon in the box. If it rains, 4 inches is enough to fill the box completely. 

If you plant a tree in the desert, do you need extra water?

You have to use one time 60 litres of water while planting. Afterwards you do not have to refill it anymore. Watch this video for more explanation.

Can a tree survive after a year if the water is too deep into the ground?

Trees do not survive on groundwater, but on capillary hang water. The deepest roots ever found are 84 meters. Many times groundwater in deserts is deeper than 84 meters. The capillary hang water is the water that penetrates in the soil during the annual rain. For example:

Suppose you have 300 mm of rain. Of this 300 mm, 100 mm  does not penetrate, because the soil is very hard or because there is a steep slope. Only 200 mm of the precipitation enters. Then you can plant trees:

  1. That resist the climate (cold, hot, strong winds);
  2. That can survive with 200 mm.

So it is important to understand that:  

  1. The annual rainfall says nothing about the quantity that enters the soil
  2. Trees do not survive from groundwater but from capillary hang water caused by the penetrated quantity of rainfall.

How to start a project

How do I need to start a project?

On our homepage you see a link ‘Start a project’. We have put a few documents there that help you developing your project. In its essence a restoration project is based on planting trees and select the species and planting density.

  • For the species to use we advise to look in your surroundings. Use the species that you see growing there. We have a preference for so-called ‘native species’. They start to multiply themselves after a few years;
  • Since you are going to restore the ecosystem, we suggest to help nature start. However let nature do the big work by multiplying itself. So plant 50 boxes per acre (125 per hectare) with in each box one tree species and one bush species. Use trees and bushes that produce berries. The birds will eat them, they will drop the seeds everywhere and within 10 years your area is replanted. So what you actually do is planting pioneer bushes and trees that colonize the area. They start to multiply themselves and then automatically the process of ecosystem restoration will accelerate;

How much space is required to plant trees?

It is not possible to answer this question. We will give you various details that can help you determine the planting distance between the trees. All this information is based on planting in hot areas:

1. The annual rainfall defines the species that you can use (as each species has a minimum water requirement). The first thing to do is look for traditional plantations. In general, traditional growers know what is the optimum planting distance is for their trees.

2. If the rainfall is just enough for the minimum requirement, you can plant less trees per hectare/acre. The size of the tree also defines spacing, if you prune them smaller they evaporate less, so you can plant more trees per hectare/acre. If the soil is sandy, it is dry and poor in minerals. So you plant less trees per hectare/acre compared to when your soil consists of clay and is rich in minerals.

3. Due temperatures go to extreme heights (up to + 45⁰C) or do they remain moderate (up to + 35⁰C). Extreme heights means less trees per hectare/acre. The reason is that for extreme high temperatures trees need water to evaporate, so you give a tree more surface to grow on, this way they have less competition with the other trees, for water.

4. The same argument is valid for a sunny climate (less trees per hectare/acre) or a cloudy climate (more trees per hectare/acre). Or a southern slope (less trees per hectare/acre) or a northern slope of a mountain or hill (more trees per hectare/acre).

For ecosystem restoration:

We advise to only plant pioneer trees and give Mother Nature time to sow seeds and have other trees colonize the area afterwards. So plant only 200 Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoons with each one tree and one bush. This way you plant 400 pioneer trees per hectare (160 pioneer trees per acre). That is sufficient. The fact that you only use 200 Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoons makes this ecosystem restoration model very cheap to do.

How do you need to plant for ecosystem restoration purposes?

If you plant for ecosystem restoration purposes, we advise using two species in each Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon. Plant a tree and a bush. When possible, make a combination of species of which you can see in nature that they have a preference for each other. In this way you create a symbiotic effect of faster growth.

It is also possible to use the Growboxx® plant cocoon for ecosystem restoration purposes. By planting multiple species of native or productive trees in combination with shrubs, you can plant a surface faster and cheaper while planting less trees. 

What trees are best suited for the production of fuel wood?

Please check this document to find some suggestions for trees to use. Especially the gmelina is a fantastic tree to produce fuel wood.

Can I use the Waterboxx® or Growboxx® plant cocoon for fruit tree farming?

Yes. As you might have understood, the Groasis Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon are a part of the planting technology. Its function is to bring the roots 3 meters deep in the first planting year. The box contains only 16 liters of water while a big tree maybe evaporates 10 liters per day. Because its roots are over 3 meters deep within one year, the tree takes the water from there and it survives without the box. For this reason we take off the box after one year and use it to plant the next tree. The advantage of the Growboxx® plant cocoon is that we leave the box and that he creates optimum circumstances even after a year, since the Growboxx® plant cocoon while degrading will keep a bit humidity around the stem and will cool down the soil around the stem.
 
Never mix the idea of planting technology (= Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology incl. Waterboxx® and Growboxx® plant cocoon) with irrigation (= giving water while the tree is big).


Costs of the Groasis Waterboxx® plant cocoon

Are the costs to plant a tree with the Waterboxx® plant cocoon 20 USD?

If you buy a car that costs 20,000 dollar, you do not say that the first kilometre costs you 20,000 USD. If you drive the car for four years and each year you drive 50,000 kilometres, you drive 200,000 kilometres. This means that the investment is 20,000 USD and the costs of the car are 10 cents per kilometre. We cannot mix the concepts of investment and costs. So the investments of the box is 20 dollars and the annual costs are 2 dollars. So the cost per tree are 2 dollars.

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Costs of the Groasis capillary drill

Is there a cost calculation for the usage of the capillary drills?

Planting projects on a small scale can easily be done by hand. Once projects on a bigger scale are done, this becomes difficult. As an example we take an imaginary project. The client wants to plant 600 weeks x 1 million trees (2 million hectares x 300 trees / 12 years)

That is 1 million planting holes per week.

Suppose each man makes 4 planting holes per hour, working in a high temperature, with rocks in the soil, than you need 250,000 man hours per week. That is 6,000 man to dig planting holes. Plus the transport (120 buses), housing, food, organization and management. This is not easy to organize.

Info: in Morocco the government does some planting projects 500 km south of Oujda, deep in the desert. They calculate 2 planting holes per man per day. Maybe that is very low, but it is their experience. With 6,000 man and +45°C, 4 holes per hour is a definitely a challenge.

What is the cost price of tree planting holes made by hand?

Suppose a man's wage is 3 US$ per hour. The cost of making a planting hole by hand if made 6 per hour - excluding the transport (120 buses), housing, food, organization and management - is 0,50 US$.

What is the cost price of tree planting holes made by the Groasis capillary drill?

One drill with 2 drills makes approximately 90 holes per hour. That is in 84 hours – 7 days x 12 hours - total 7,500 holes. This means that the client needs 140 drills and tractors. The tractor investment is 60K US$ and the drill 50K US$. Suppose 1 combination makes holes during 6 years, that is 375,000 x 6 = app. 2 million holes. That is 5,5 cents per hole. We estimate 1 cent per hole for the transport (3 buses), housing, food, organization and management costs and 0,5 cents energy. Cost per planting hole 7 cents.

There are 140 tractor drivers, easier to organize than 6,000 people making holes by hand. They cost 250 dollar per week incl. housing etc.. That is 3 cents per hole.

The cost of making a planting hole by machine - including the transport (3 buses), housing, food, organization and management - is 10 cents.

Conclusions making planting holes by hand and by the capillary drills

For bigger projects a capillary drill makes it easier to organize it. Also, the cost price for the making of a planting hole with a capillary drill is considerable lower than making one by hand: 10 cents compared to 50 cents.