I already reported on an interesting experiment on growing tree seedlings, set up in Zanona (Cadiz/Andalucia/Spain). You may find this message in the November 2006 postings under Archives.
In May 1995, we showed the effect of the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) on seedlings of conifers. Seedlings were acquired in a nursery. Half of them were kept as control plants, the other half were treated with the TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) at a dosage of 5 g TC per kg of potting soil. All plants got the same small volume of water at the same moment, so that a certain hydric stress was created for the seedlings under very dry conditions in this area of Southern Spain.
Six weeks later the dimensions of the seedlings were compared : length of the stem, length and volume of the root system.
Already after a few weeks, a remarkable difference is observed between the TC-treated seedlings (left) and the control ones (right)
When preparing for the Olympic Games in 2000, the authorities of the City of Sydney decided to create a dramatic change in certain parts of the city by introducing spectacular plantations of trees, shrubs and flowering plants. To name only two wellknown areas in the city center that turned completely green in a very short period : Cockle Bay Wharf and Darling Harbour. The secret for this fantastic success : the use of TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) in the containers at the waterside of Cockle Bay Wharf and on the roof top of Darling Harbour, where a huge hanging garden was created.
TerraCottem soil conditioner was applied to solve the problems of regular watering of the containers with trees, shrubs and ornamental plants, used to embellish the waterfront at Cockle Bay. The potting soil in the containers was mixed with TC at a dosage of 5 g TC per kg of substrate. As TC stocks water and nutrients, it limits the need for regular irrigation in a significant way. As it also stimulates root growth and microbiological activities in the substrate, it improves plant growth in a spectacular way, whilst reducing water and fertilizer consumption.
For the same need of limiting the volume of irrigation water and fertilizers, the City of Sydney decided to mix TC soil conditioner with the substrate on the rooftop (also less weight !). A number of weeks after planting and seeding with typical species of the 5 continents, this rooftop garden became a splendid success. It is visited every year by tenthousands of visitors.
These two success stories with TerraCottem soil conditioner in landscaping projects of a city like Sydney show that TC can be used in extreme conditions for saving water and fertilizer. What was realized within the “concrete desert” of this city, can also be achieved in other cities of the world and in all desertlike areas of the drylands.
Greening of a rooftop or an avenue is submitted to the same irrigation problems as a reforestation project or a vegetable garden in the drylands. TC can be used as an effective tool in the combat of desertification.
Just reaching to our knees ! : Young Prosopis treated with TC in presence of the Minister of Public Health of the R.A.S.D. (center) and the Representative of Unicef Algeria, Mr. Raymond Janssens (right).
In 2005, Unicef Algeria invited me as a scientific consultant to study possible improvement of the living conditions in the refugee camps of the Sahraouis people in Southern Algeria (Sahara desert), looking for ways to enhance local food production. The main objective was to look for new possibilities to grow vegetables in small family gardens in the refugee camps in the desert with a minimum of brackish water, taken from the subsoil.
In May 1995 an experiment was set up in Zanona (Cadiz/Andalusia/Spain) to show the effect of the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) on seedlings of conifers.
A number of seedlings was acquired in a nearby nursery. Half of them were kept as control plants, the other half were treated with TerraCottem soil conditioner (see http://www.terracottem.com) at a dosage of 5 g TC per kg of potting soil. All plants were watered in the same way (all the same day, all the same small volume of water to create a certain hydric stress for the seedlings under very dry conditions in the area).
Comparison of TC-treated conifer seedling (left) with control one (right).