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Forestry department to try out new tree-growing technique.

Starting October, the agriculture ministry will experiment with a new technique to save water for irrigating trees by using a waterboxx, an innovative way of growing trees.

"Initially, we will plant 130 trees, 65 olive trees and 65 cypresses," forest conservator Petros Petrou from the agriculture ministry said.

"Each box costs around e1/430, and can hold one of each. We will see the results and maybe use the boxes in wider areas," he added.

"We usually have to water the trees for two years after planting, and it is costly so we are curious to see what this system can do. We have seen the presentations about other countries and hope that we won't have to water the plants after the initial planting."

According to AgroTree Solution, the company selling the boxes, who claim to have successfully used the system around the world, their mission is the reforestation of the earth.

They explain the device to achieve this is a polypropylene box that allows you to plant in the most difficult places around the world with a survival rate of 90 per cent or more. Because of the unique design of the box, in most cases people don't have to refill the box with water after the initial planting. Plants, the company says, can survive with waterboxx's help in the most extreme summers and during the coldest winters.

The waterboxx is placed on the soil where the plants should be growing.

Diagram showing how a waterboxx works

The centre of the box has a tubular opening where one or two small trees or seeds can be planted after digging a hole in the ground. After planting the box is filled with 15 litres of water, which, the company claims, will not evaporate. The plant can develop its roots under the box while the captured water is supplied by using a cord, using the same technique as the oil lamp principle. In this way the rain and condensation water is gradually given to the young tree or seed over a long period of time.

"It collects water by catching rainwater, and also by producing and catching water from condensation," according to AgroTree Solution. "It subsequently distributesthe collected waterover an extended period to the tree growing in the centre. Furthermore, it stimulates the capillary formation of the soil; prevents the evaporation of groundwater; steadies the temperature around the roots; fights competitive weeds near the planted tree; and can even prevent damage by rodents."

The plant will need to be kept in the box until it starts to grow rapidly, a sign that the roots have developed sufficiently. After that the box can be removed and used to plant another tree.

In Cyprus, we will have to wait for some time to see if all these exciting claims are true. The government needs time to test the system, and the boxes have only just started being sold in garden centres and nurseries.

Those who want to try for themselves can buy it online at . Instructions on its use are also available online.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Mar 20, 2016
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