Seedballs: far more natural than plantations

Only arboRise opts for reforestation based on direct sowing. This planting technique is well known to silviculturists and offers many advantages:

The aim of arboRise is not the exploitation of wood or fruit but the storage of a maximum of carbon. Numerous silvicultural issues related to forest maintenance (thinning, pruning, waste treatment, etc.) therefore do not take place in our project. This frees us from many of the usual constraints in silviculture, respectively requires a different approach to forestry, focused on the quantity of biomass and the natural resilience of the forest. For tropical species, the average germination rate in direct seeding is 38% and the establishment rate is 17% (Direct Seeding in Reforestation – A field performance review: Grossnickle S.C, Ivetic V., Reforesta (2017) 4: 94-142, p. 101).  Several methods can be used to increase this performance, particularly by increasing the density per hectare and by protecting the seeds against rodents and fire. This is exactly what the seedball technique does, and this increases the germination rate to 50%. The seedball technique was used in ancient times in the Middle East, Egypt and parts of North Africa. In ancient Egypt, this process was used to rehabilitate farms after the annual flooding of the Nile (spring floods). It was later forgotten. During the Second World War, the seed pellet technique was revived by Masanobu Fukuoka, a pioneering Japanese farmer known for his commitment to natural agriculture.

How does it work?

Creation of a seedball

from ingredients easily found on site

Direct sowing

Disseminating dumplings is quite fun


Let’s wait for the rainy season to let nature take its course

Apart from being natural, the advantage of this technique is its great simplicity. The basic recipe consists of mixing 5 volumes of red clay with 1 volume of seeds. arboRise adds a measure of charcoal and ashes, which have been used since Neolithic times as a fertiliser for their richness in mineral salts, particularly potash and trace elements, which are often lacking in eroded soils. In addition, ash also has a repulsive effect on certain insects.

This coating will not only provide nutrients but will also protect the seeds against parasites such as rodents and birds (main predators of the seeds). This proection enables the seeds to wait quietly for the rainy season to come. . At this time, the water melts the pellet and the seed can start to germinate.







Would you like to try your hand at making seedballs?
  1. Proportions: 5 parts red clay powder, 2 parts charcoal powder, 1 part water to 1 part seed.
  2. Begin by mixing the clay and coal well.
  3. Then add water gradually until you obtain a sticky paste that is not too liquid.
  4. Then insert the seed and make a small ball of 2-3 cm in diameter by rolling the mixture between your hands.
  5. Dry the pellet for about 24 hours (if you use several types of seeds, be careful not to mix the seedballs from different trees!).
  6. Strength test: drop a pellet from a height of about 1.5 meter on hard ground. If it breaks your clay probably contained sand or your coal was not fine enough.