Use plastic bottles instead of polybags for planting tree saplings


Photo credit: WVC 2010-03-02 P1030537.JPG

Avocado sapling growing in a plastic bottle.  Roots developing very strongly.

See the aso my video :


by Willem Van Cotthem (Ghent University – Belgium)

Instead of using polybags for growing saplings, we grow young trees in plastic bottles.  After cutting off the bottom part of the bottle, thus setting the young roots free,  we plant the sapling with the remaining part of the bottle still around the rootball.  Thus, the roots remain undisturbed.  They continue their growth, even in very adverse conditions.  Survival rate is almost 100 % and reforestation a complete success.

PHOTOS : Young avocado sapling grown in a plastic bottle.  Bottom of the bottle cut to set the young roots free.  Then the sapling with the rest of the bottle planted to let the rootball undisturbed in the plant pit.  The sapling continues its growth almost immediately.  Survival rate is maximal. (Photo WVC 2010-08-02 BOTTLE REFORESTATION P1040322 copy.jpg).

2010-08-02 BOTTLE REFORESTATION P1040322 copy

Photo WVC 2010-08-02 BOTTLE REFORESTATION P1040323 copy.jpg 2010-08-02 BOTTLE REFORESTATION P1040324 copy

Here is an avocado sapling, grown in a small bottle until the roots touched the bottom, then planted after cutting the bottom part of the bottle off, leaving the top part above the soil to enable watering in the bottle.  Thereby, irrigation water is running directly down to the youngest roots and keeping them moistened.

2010-08-02 BOTTLE REFORESTATION P1040327 copy.JPG
Photo WVC 2010-08-02 BOTTLE REFORESTATION P1040327 copy.JPG

Once the sapling continues its growth after transplant (new leaves are formed), one can easily pull the plastic bottle out of the soil and offer the young tree full chances to develop without the classical transplant shock.

Photo WVC 2010-08-02 BOTTLE REFORESTATION P1040328 copy.JPG
Photo WVC 2010-08-02 BOTTLE REFORESTATION P1040328 copy.JPG

Did I make clear that this method offers more chances to get high survival rates for reforestation projects than with the classical black polybags ?  If not, why don’t you try it and convince yourself ?

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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.