How to make tree seedling survival successful ?

Please click here:


Considering the heavy pollution load of plastic bags on the environment, and considering that billions of plastic bags are used every year at the global level, we have been looking for a more efficient and cheaper alternative.

Experiments with plastic (food grade) bottles showed that this can be an interesting solution to:

  1. Reduce the damage to the root system at planting time.
  2. Reduce the volume of irrigation water needed to keep the seedlings alive (higher water use efficiency WUE) before and after transplantation.
  3. Enhance biomass production in a shorter period (stronger seedlings).
  4. Enhance survival rate of the tree seedlings.
  5. Enable reforestation at the most hostile locations.
  6. Avoid pollution of the earth’s surface with plastic tree nursery bags.


Tree seedlings grown in bottles can very easily be transported to the plantation site without significant damage to the plants and their root system.  This makes this method very interesting for large-scale afforestation or reforestation programmes.  Therefore we called the method “bottle reforestation” or “bottle afforestation”.
Different variants of growing tree seedlings in bottles can be used.



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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