Thursday, July 24, 2014

Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees (without watering) and with the Groasis Waterboxx

Last year, the author decided to plant a dwarf cherry tree purchased from Stark Brothers nursery online.  The tree, a Blackgold® Sweet Cherry Semi-Dwarf, barely grew over the first year (without a Waterboxx).  We watered the trees consistently from a hose during 2013.  We were very disappointed with this and the tree at the end of its first winter (late February) is shown below.

Below you see the cherry tree after the Waterboxx was placed (on April 27) , with a little bit of leaf growth.  There was a late spring this year after a bitterly cold winter, and we haven't yet seen much growth.

Below we see the tree only three weeks later (May 18) with approximate doubling in canopy size.  This is largely due to the consistent water provided by the Groasis Waterboxx.


In the interim between the above and below pictures, we had some animal (we believe a rabbit) eat bark from around 80% of the trunk.  We repaired this the best we could and added a GrowSafe® Telescoprotexx (tree protector) that allows sunlight to reach the small tree but protects it from animals.  The tree below is shown on July 22, 2014.  The canopy size is again almost doubled, and now the tree is in danger of getting so large so quickly that we may have trouble removing the Waterboxx.


The Groasis Waterboxx was designed to grow trees in deserts, but even in relatively wet climates (like ours in Indiana) it dramatically increases tree growth because the Waterboxx allows for constant irrigation to the roots.  The Waterboxx collects near nightly dew and occasional rainwater, and stores this water in a 4 gallon reservoir, and slowly releases this to the roots of the growing plant in its center.  The Waterboxx is removed after about one year (before the tree canopy gets too large to permit the central Waterboxx opening around it) and is reused for up to 10 years.  The Waterboxx planted tree then has deeply developed roots, which access capillary water and provide drought resistance to the tree.

We will continue to update this page with more photos throughout the year.  We expect our first cherry crop next year thanks to the Waterboxx.

Be the first in your area to begin planting trees with the Waterboxx.  Not only does the Waterboxx save time and conserve water, but it also saves money on planting trees when all costs are considered.  Buy the Waterboxx here.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Growing Dwarf Pear Trees (without watering) and with the Groasis Waterboxx

Last spring, the author bought and planted 4 bare root dwarf fruit trees purchased from Stark Brothers nursery (online).  The site for these trees was carefully selected to be in a full sun area at the bottom of a hill where water would reach them.  All of these trees are capable of growing well in the zone in which they were planted (Zone 6) After this first year, we were quite disappointed with the lack of significant growth of these trees, so we decided to add the Waterboxx to each of their bases.  The tree we will discuss here is a pear tree, the Custom 2-N-1 Pear Semi-Dwarf.   The tree pre-Waterboxx (in late winter) shown below looks very similar to the tree when was planted (showing the very minimal and disappointing growth first year).

The pear tree (before Waterboxx placement) on 2/22/14, approximately one year after planting
We had planted in spring a year before the above picture, and there was almost no growth.  Below you see the first leave growth with Waterboxx in place.



The pear on 4/27/14 after first bud break (it was a late Spring)
Within a few weeks the Waterboxx planted tree had acquired many leaves.  There is a small amount of new growth (seen by the light greenish yellow leaves at the top of the branches) below.
The growth three weeks later (5/18/14) is significant
The 5 weeks after the above photograph are when the Waterboxx really induced spectacular growth.  The tree increased in height ~50% in a little over a month.  Remember, we did not add any water to the base of the tree or to the Waterboxx.
The pear tree 5 weeks later (6/30/14) as almost doubled in height with the Waterboxx providing consistent water.
We will continue to update you on the tree's progress throughout the summer.  At this rate of growth, we expect the tree to outgrow the Waterboxx by this fall, and we will remove the Waterboxx next spring (after it helps protect the base of the tree through the winter).

For those not familiar with the Waterboxx, it works in several ways, described in detail elsewhere on this site.  In essence, however, it is a self recharging "water battery".  It collects dew and rainwater from the environment, funnels this into the green basin using its lotus leaf inspired lid, and then slowly releases this water to the roots of the growing plant.  The plant's roots grow straight down within the Waterboxx induced water column until they reach deeper capillary water.  At this point (when the tree exhibits a growth spurt, the Waterboxx can be removed and replaced with mulch.  The deeply rooted tree is now resistant to any further drought as it now has this deep root which has access to ground capillary water. Be the first in your area to start growing plants with the Groasis Waterboxx.  Buy the Groasis Waterboxx here.

Oak Progress with the Groasis Waterboxx

When visiting the main Dew Harvest website, the image that greets visitors on our explanatory page is a picture of very young but stately oak tree, grown from an acorn found by the author at a local college campus.  We had previously planted a young oak (grown from the same crop of acorns) outside only to see the tree eaten to a stump by rabbits.  We were determined not to let this happen again so after the photograph below was taken (with the oak still in a pot) we planted the tree in its final location in the country in northern Indiana.
Red Oak, grown from seed, May 2013

The oak has survived its first winter in northern Indiana quite well (and the winter of 2013-2014 here was the worst in decades) due to the insulating effect of the Waterboxx during temperature extremes.  The Waterboxx basin is of course self refilling from dew and rain water.  Here we see the Waterboxx planted oak after about one year of in ground growth and around 18 months of age.  As you can see, the canopy has more than doubled in size, and the tree is both healthy and robust.  The tree is also about three times as high. Of note, the tree did receive minor damage in a hail storm a few months before this photo was taken, but the Waterboxx survived without a scratch.
Red Oak, grown from Seed, July 2014
Because the Waterboxx can be left in place until the tree outgrows it (which will likely be around another year for this tree), it will continue to provide an incubation and consistent water to this tree.  One of the reasons the Waterboxx is so effective is because it allows the tree to be planted immediately in its final location.  The Oak's tap root will be induced to dive deep in search of capillary water, providing life sustaining water during drought.  The deep roots also prevent uprooting during storms.

The Groasis Waterboxx allows trees to be planted in a much more natural manner, as seen in the video below.

The Groasis Waterboxx can be used for 10 years and potentially up to 10 trees or other plants.  It has a 99% tree survival rate in even the harshest conditions (the Sahara) when used with two trees as recommended.  The Waterboxx allows you to grow trees very cheaply (from seed) or to grow bare root trees you can have shipped to you.  Be the first in your area to start growing plants with the Groasis Waterboxx.  The Waterboxx is available for purchase from our parent website.

We will continue to update this page with photos of the growing red oak, planted from seed and grown with the Groasis Waterboxx.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Growing Pumpkins without Watering (and with the Groasis Waterboxx)

Growing pumpkins is a treat for many gardeners, especially those who celebrate Halloween.  Carving pumpkins with children or other loved ones is great fun, made more so by growing the pumpkins yourself. Also, home grown and home made pumpkin pie and baked pumpkin seeds will impress your family and friends throughout the fall and winter holidays.

The biggest problem we have experienced when growing pumpkins is that prime pumpkin growing season - July, August, and September, also tend to be the driest times of the year.  This generally means that pumpkins need to be frequently watered, generally by dragging a hose out to the pumpkin patch.  This is hard work, time consuming, and wasteful of water.  Also, much of this water evaporates due to lack of mulch around the base of the pumpkin plant.

Others around the world have had good success growing pumpkins in very dry areas with the Groasis Waterboxx.  We at Dew Harvest thought we would try our own experiment, and photograph the results for this blog.  We started with pumpkin seeds, planted outdoor in a peat pot for starting.  These were allowed to grow for a few weeks in order to reach proper size.
The pumpkin, grown from seed in a peat pot (6/21/2014)
This small pumpkin plant was then planted in native soil (no potting soil or fertilizer were added) with the evaporation cover around it (to prevent evaporation of soil moisture and surrounding weed growth).  Around 3 gallons of water were poured over the roots of the pumpkin at planting. The Waterboxx was then placed with the figure eight central opening around the plant and filled with water.

The pumpkin, after planting in soil on and after evaporation cover was placed around the stem (6/21/14).
Of note, Waterboxxes come with one hole for wick insertion.  To get more water to the roots of the growing pumpkin, a second 3/16 inch hole was drilled and a second wick inserted on the opposite side of the first wick.  In theory this would lead to depletion of the water in the Waterboxx reservoir, but rainfall and dew have been sufficient to keep the reservoir completely full.

Pumpkin on 6/28/2014 after growth for 7 days with the Waterboxx.  This Waterboxx has 2 wicks rather than the standard one.  
We then documented the growth of the pumpkin vines.  Remember, the Waterboxx is self-refilling with water, and we never added more water to the Waterboxx or soil around the pumpkin after initial planting. Here you see the pumpkin plant in early July.
The Waterboxx planted pumpkin on July 8.  The basin (reservoir) is still completely full even with 2 wicks.

The Waterboxx planted pumpkin on July 16.  As always, no new water was added.  The surrounding grass is drying out, but the pumpkin is still thriving.  

We will continue to update this blog with pictures of the pumpkin plant throughout the summer and fall.  If you want to grow pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe, and of course trees without continued watering, the Waterboxx is ideal for you.  Be the first in your area to begin planting pumpkins and other garden plants with the Groasis Waterboxx.  You can buy the Waterboxx from Dew Harvest in the United States.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Planting Trees for the Long Term



In America we frequently plant trees to last a decade, when they could live a century or more.  By buying trees planted in containers, with malformed and circling roots, we ensure that the roots will never reach deeper capillary water, and that the tree will have a poor chance of surviving drought or other stress.  We frequently see these trees years after planting, dead or dying, and certainly not in shape to add value to a landscape.  When we see these trees, now requiring removal and replanting, we can only think "They Should Have Used A Waterboxx".



 The Groasis Waterboxx is a Dutch invention designed for planting trees in very dry climates.  In fact, the Waterboxx has allowed 88% of trees planted with it to survive in a Sahara desert planting trial.



The Waterboxx is a self recharging water battery.  After filling once (only at set up), it collects dew and rainwater, and slowly releases it to the roots of a growing tree.



Because this water is released in a column straight below the tree, it causes the roots to grow vertically downward.  These roots then reach capillary water, sustaining the tree during times of drought.

The Waterboxx also allows much smaller, cheaper trees (bare root trees ordered by mail) to be planted.  These tree are much more likely to survive long term, and also grow much faster due to their larger root to canopy ratio.  These trees often sell for just a few dollars, compared to $40-$100 for container big box trees which grow slower.

Note: The true color versions of these pictures are available on our website

So, every time we see a dead or dying tree, we can't help but think, that they should have used a Waterboxx.  You will greatly improve the long term survival of any tree (from oaks to sequoias) with the Waterboxx.



The rest of this blog chronicles the use of the Waterboxx.  You can see the Waterboxx used to grow Sequoias, oaks, pumpkins, pear trees, and many others to come.  The blog also explains the many facets of the Waterboxx including the lotus leaf inspired lid and capillary water.

The Waterboxx can be reused for up to 10 years and 10 different trees.  It will allow you to plant in any season; spring, summer, fall or winter.  Be the first in your area to plant trees and other plants with the Waterboxx.  Buy the Waterboxx here.


Friday, July 4, 2014

How Much Do Trees Raise Property Value?

It is widely known that trees raise property value.  Anyone who has gone to a housing addition with newly built homes lining the newly paved streets quickly feels the lack of trees and lawns. Just like a condo with brick walls for view will sell for a tiny fraction of a condo with Central Park for a view, homes with trees, especially stately trees in the front yard, can be worth considerably more.  There has been an effort recently to put a price tag on how much more.

According to the Pacific Northwest Research Station, a tree in the front yard of a home raises that home's price, on average, $7,130.  If the total increases for the neighborhood property value are tallied, the average is $12,828.  Trees also make houses more sale-able, decreasing time on the market by around 2 days, on average.

The Arbor Day Foundation lists similar benefits.  In one survey, 83% of realtors believed "mature trees have a ‘strong or moderate impact’ on the salability of homes listed for under $150,000; on homes over $250,000, this perception increases to 98%".  

Other surveys have found that mature trees can increase property values by up to 20%.

All of these studies of course cite mature, healthy trees.  No one wants to buy a house with a half dead Silver Maple or a split Bradford Pear.  So, if you are moving into a home without any front yard trees, you want to carefully consider what tree you plant, and the method in which you plant it.

First, regarding tree selection, our choice for most of the eastern half of the country would be a northern Red Oak.  


200602 Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) - USGS Forest Service Native Range Map.jpg
Northern Red Oak Range (From USGS)
Red Oaks are stately, strong, fast growing, and long lived.  They do not suffer from any catastrophic diseases like Dutch Elm Disease or Emerald Ash Borer.  They are very fast growing for oaks, and those in the author's neighborhood have grown as fast as surrounding Silver Maples (which is a much inferior tree but one know for its growth speed).

As the Western U.S. is generally quite a bit drier than the East, we recommend one of these deciduous trees: Honeylocust, Hackberry, Japanese Zolkova, Gingko (male), Bur Oak, or Honey Mesquite.  We discuss these trees in detail here.  

Regardless of which tree you plant, it is important to plant them in the proper way to ensure fast growth and long term survival.  The traditional tree planting method of buying a large, containerized tree from the garden center is very ill suited both to fast growth of trees and to their long term survival.  First, these trees have very malformed roots, and once planted these roots stay very near the surface.  This makes the tree dependent on frequent rains, and very poorly drought resistant.  Also, shallow roots can cause the tree to lean or blow over in stiff winds.  Finally, these trees often have a mismatch between their root system size and their canopy size.  Many home owners find that these trees barely grow for years after planting due to this mismatch, making them a very disappointing investment.

A better way to obtain fast growing, long lived trees is to plant bare root trees with the Groasis Waterboxx.  Bare root trees can be purchased by mail or grown from seed, and are much more affordable than containerized trees.  You can expect to spend ~1/10 the cost of a container planted tree for a bare root tree.  Because the tree is smaller initially (but only initially), it doesn't have the root/canopy disproportion.  The tree is planted early in its life cycle in its final location and grows naturally.

Planting bare root trees with the Groasis Waterboxx, you will never need to water them after first planting.  The Waterboxx collects dew and rainwater and slowly releases it to the roots of a growing tree.  The Waterboxx induces the roots to grow deep, anchoring the tree and also preventing damage and death during subsequent droughts.  The Waterboxx also prevents weed growth around the tree and prevents soil moisture from evaporating.  The Waterboxx can be reused up to ten 10 total.  You can compare the cost of Waterboxx planting with bare root trees to traditional planting with our calculator.  You will find the Waterboxx also prevents roots from growing to leaking pipes and other unintentional water sources, unless the pipe is immediately beneath the planted tree.  The Waterboxx also helps homeowners to conserve water.  

Be the first in your area to start growing plants with the Groasis Waterboxx.  You can buy the Groasis Waterboxx from Dew Harvest in the United States.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Planting Pecan Trees with the Groasis Waterboxx

Pecans are one of the few truly all American foods.  Pecan, so named in the Algonquin Indian language because it was a nut that was so hard it required a stone to crack, is native to North America.  Settlers ate wild pecans, and today ~90% of all pecans are grown in the U.S.  In the author's opinion, pecan pie, not apple pie should be considered the quintessential American desert (as apples are originally from central Asia).

Pecan trees can grow in USDA zones 5-9, but generally do better in the southern states.  Pecan trees generally grow between 70-100 feet tall, but have grown taller.  They have a moderate growth rate once established.

pecan tree is summer
Pecan trees can be quite stately, providing shade and increased property value in addition to food (from www.nuts-about-pecans.com)
For those seeking to plant pecans mainly as a landscape tree, as always the Arbor Day Foundation is an excellent source of bare root trees.  For those looking to plant pecan trees for nut production, however, grafted trees are strongly recommended.  Grafted trees start nut production earlier and enable more reliable nut production.

New Mexico State University provides excellent information about buying grafted pecan trees.  They recommend root stock 3-4 years old and scion wood 1-2 years old, with a diameter (caliper) of 5/8 - 1 inch.

Pecan trees can be very difficult to establish, especially in the dry Southwest states.  Pecan trees have a true tap root initially, meaning they have one central root that grows straight down.  This is similar to many other nut trees and allows the trees to access deep soil capillary water during periods of drought.  However, it also makes the pecan trees very difficult to establish.  The roots need to be kept almost constantly wet until they establish lateral roots, and this can entail a huge water bill, many times the initial cost of the tree, not to mention the cost of the labor to install irrigation or move hoses between the bases of trees at least once weekly.  Is there a solution that eliminates the need for irrigation of the newly planted pecan?  Yes - and it is called the Groasis Waterboxx.

The Pecan large tap root with a few lateral roots (from noble.org).  This tap root will eventually allow Pecans to survive drought due to deeper soil capillary water access, but can make the Pecan tree very difficult to establish unless you have the Waterboxx

The Groasis Waterboxx is a self refilling water battery, and plant incubator which is placed around the newly planted pecan (or any other tree).  It is filled with 4 gallons of water, and the soil beneath the Waterboxx is saturated with up to 10 gallons of water.  The Waterboxx has a wick which allows water to be slowly released to the growing tap root of the pecan.  The Waterboxx is refilled from dew and rain.  The Waterboxx, although 10 inches high, can be completely refilled with 4 inches of rain.  With proper set up, the Waterboxx achieves water homeostasis, meaning it will not run dry even without refilling.  This is because it is able to fill with condensation most nights and utilize and store rarer rains.

The Waterboxx also prevents the soil beneath it from drying out (its UV resistant plastic is impermeable to water).  This both sustains the tap root of the pecan and induces it to grow to deep capillary water quickly.  The Waterboxx can be left around the base of the pecan tree until the caliper (diameter) of the trunk reaches almost 3 inches.  The mechanism of the Waterboxx is explained clearly below.

Of note, besides pecan trees, the Waterboxx has been used for many other trees, including red oakGiant Sequoiapear and other fruit trees.  It can also be used for annual garden plants like pumpkins.

Be the first in your area to start growing pecans with the Groasis Waterboxx.  Buy the Groasis Waterboxx here (from Dew Harvest).  Pecan trees grown for nut production can be purchased from Stark Brothers Nursery.

For More Information:

http://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az1400.pdf