More food with less water

Pieter Hoff, inventor of the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology, says: 'When we started in 2003 realizing our dream of The Treesolution, we knew it could only work if we found a way to plant all dry, eroded and degraded land on Earth, without using irrigation, and at very low costs. Today that moment has come'. Groasis presents to you:

Plant trees in deserts without irrigation - paper pulp product to plant trees

The revolutionary biodegradable Growboxx® plant cocoon, made of recycled paper (*). Click on the image to enlarge.

According to the UN the world’s population will rise from 7 to 10 billion people while 48 countries are facing serious water scarcity. So, we need more food, but we have less water available. The Growboxx® plant cocoon offers a revolutionary new capacity: you can plant only a tree with it, or you can plant a tree in combination with 4 other plants. The Growboxx® plant cocoon’s water efficiency offers a serious solution for water scarcity: compared to drip irrigation it offers over 90% savings on water use.

The Growboxx® plant cocoon offers the following possibilities:

  1. You can plant a tree only, any species, in any climate, in any soil, or even on rocks;
  2. You can combine the planting of a tree with 4 other plants. The seeds or plants are planted in the 4 plant plugs cones in the cover of the box. At first they grow hydroponically in the water. After 4 to 8 months they penetrate the degrading bottom of the box and establish themselves in the soil;
  3. Combination 1: one productive tree (fruit, timber, oils, medicines, etc.) in combination with 4 vegetables, e.g. tomatoes, cucumber, paprika, eggplant, etc.. This way an agricultural family has an income and food, while planting their orchard. Degraded land becomes productive again;
  4. Combination 2: one beautification tree with bedding plants or shrubs for landscaping of urban areas, cities, industrial areas, against heavy pollution or sand storms. Cities can stop using irrigation;
  5. Combination 3: one native tree in combination with 4 native wildflowers and bushes for ecosystem restoration. Through the planting of only 100 boxes with 5 plants, 100 groups of 5 pioneer trees will start to colonize, and after a few years, occupy the whole area. We call this the ‘Groasis auto-reforestation method’. This revolutionary method of ecosystem restoration will lead to cost savings of over 60% compared to traditional methods. Nature recovery on a huge scale is now doable and payable.

planting trees, vegetables and bushes with a box made from paper pulp Growboxx® plant cocoon for agriculture: with Malus baccata (apple) in the middle and 4 Capcicum annuum (Spanish pepper) planted in the plant plugs in the cover. Click on the image to enlarge.

The special capacities of the Growboxx® plant cocoon

The biodegradable Growboxx® plant cocoon offers special capacities for a product that is made of recycled paper:

  • It uses no wick anymore. The bottom of the box functions as an osmose filter, it gives a daily low dose of water to the tree that is planted in the soil in the center of the box;
  • The cover of the box harvests rain, stores it inside through the siphon opening and the blue ball prevents it from evaporating;
  • You can do a refill if necessary. Just take the blue ball out and refill easily. Vegetables need app. 5 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of fruits. In such a case we have to refill;
  • The cover is fixed. This is amazing, since companies like McDonalds or Starbucks are still using plastic covers on their paper cups, because no solid fixing has been developed for paper until now. The Growboxx’s cover is fixed perfectly, making it possible to plant the box under the soil if you don’t want to harvest rain, or don’t need a refill, but also above the soil surface if you do. The wind, cars along streets, or airplanes on the runway, will never blow the cover off;
  • It’s a carrier for nutrients. When the box degrades, they are available for the plants;
  • High water efficiency, average water saving over 90% compared to drip-irrigation;
  • It is affordable.

planting trees, vegetables and shrubs without irrigation in dry, hot climates like Spain, California, Argentina

Growboxx® plant cocoon for landscaping: with Prunus serrulata in the middle and Erica tetralix as bedding plants around it. Click on the image to enlarge.

The Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology

The Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology is a planting technology that copies the practices of Mother Nature. Through a special technology the tree is stimulated to develop vertically downwards growing roots that penetrate over 3 meters deep within the first year. Once being on this depth, the tree does not need irrigation to survive. Of course, the planted tree must be able to cope with the circumstances: an apple tree cannot survive in Kuwait and a mango tree cannot survive in Northern Europe. 

The Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology consists of 5 steps that can each be used individually, or as an integrated approach:

  1. Increased rainwater infiltration into the soil with the Groasis Terracedixx that builds 15,000 meters of mini-terraces per hour to stimulate infiltration and micro-catchment of rainwater from average 25% to 90%;
  2. Make planting holes that leave the capillary system intact with the Groasis Capillary drills; we can use this for huge scale projects;
  3. Mycorrhizae that support the root system;
  4. Intelligent bucket for a healthy microclimate and irrigation. It can be the 10 times reusable Waterboxx® plant cocoon made of polypropylene, or the 1 time usable biodegradable Growboxx® plant cocoon made of recycled moulded paper;
  5. Telescopic working 10 times reusable Growsafe plant protector

The main principle of the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology is:
more water in - less water out

The user may decide to use and implement all steps as an integrated technology, or use only one or a few of the steps of the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology. Each individual step is effective also as a stand alone.

Degraded land opportunity

Humanity has created 2 billion hectares (5B acres) of degraded farmland over the last 2,000 years (source: World Resource Institute). In the same time the world faces 7 challenges:

  • Erosion;
  • Poverty;
  • Food scarcity;
  • Climate change;
  • Unemployment;
  • Rural-urban migration;
  • Sinking groundwater levels;

The degraded land can also be approached as an opportunity. The 7 challenges can be partly or wholly solved if we plant the 2 billion hectares of man-made degraded farmland with economically interesting trees – producing fruit, oil, wood, medicines - on accessible areas and ecologically interesting trees on remote and/or inaccessible areas. We call this: “The Treesolution”.

The Treesolution

In 2008 we have formulated our mission and vision to solve these challenges in the book ‘The Treesolution’. It means that we see the tree as an instrument to help solve these challenges. You can download the Treesolution for free here.

Circular economy

The Treesolution is a perfect example of a circular economy model:

  • Millions of years ago plants were pressed to coal/oil/gas, which are in fact C atoms, stored deep in the ground;
  • In our times the energy companies extract these C atoms from the ground and sell them;
  • We use them to make energy from. During this process the C atoms unite with O atoms and are deposited in the air as CO2;
  • If we plant trees on a sufficient big scale, 2 billion hectares, we can disconnect all the emitted CO2 molecules from fossil fuels, into C and O atoms;
  • The C atoms will be used to produce products (food, timber, oils, medicines) but they will partly rot and return as CO2 to the atmosphere again;
  • Another part will return into the ground. Not deep, but in the top layer, as humus. Each 1% more humus in the soil causes the rise of the water holding capacity and a 10% higher crop;
  • So we extract the C atoms from deep into the ground and with trees we bring them back in the top layer of the degraded soil to make it fertile again. The C atoms of the plants return to where they came from;
  • C atoms – disconnected from CO2 through photosynthesis - are the only instrument to make the 2 billion hectares of degraded land fertile again.

Invest in Groasis

Groasis has started a crowdfunding initiative to give people who care for Mother Earth a possibility to support this through investing in Groasis. You can read more on this page

National Icon of the Netherlands

Recently Groasis has been designated as National Icon by the Dutch Government for being one of the 3 most innovative projects of The Netherlands with a high social impact and supporting economic growth. Groasis is very grateful for having received this ‘Oscar’ of the Dutch Industry. Read more about it here.

Mark Rutte with National Icon Groasis - a 'intelligent bucket' to plant trees with less water use in dry, eroded and desert climates

The 3 National Icon winners from L to R: Rick Siebers (Redstack), Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, Pieter Hoff (Groasis) and Patrick de Jager (ASML). Click on the image to enlarge.

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(*) For commercial purposes the Growboxx® design is coloured in our communication. The standard Growboxx® has the brown-yellowish colour of paper pulp, e.g. like egg cartons. Clients can order tailormade coloured boxes.