"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Fighting the effects of drought

Back in August 2016 I wrote about some extra special treatment that the fruit trees were going to get.  Chickpea said she looks forward to hearing about it...

So, Chickpea, here you go 😃

I first read an article in the local "Farmer's Weekly" back in June 2016.  Given the number of fruit trees we have (mainly our lemon, but also apricot, pear, apple and plum, as well as our berry and granadilla bushes) it piqued my interest so I contacted the inventor - Louis.  It turned out that he lives near us - in Bonnievale - about an hour or so drive from us.

I have, albeit from a distance, painfully lived through the development phase with him - impatiently waiting for his mould to be manufactured so that he can go into production of his recycled plastic water saving device - the TreeHog.

This will be a 100% SA product :)
A local farmer has developed a "box" to place
 around the base of the trees in order to 

preserve irrigation water
And is stated to be 100% recyclable.
70 TreeHogs awaiting installation
He finally stated production earlier this year, and I ordered 70 units which were received 2 weeks ago.

He has, with his prototypes, cut down his watering from 4.5 - 5 hours twice a week, to just 20 minutes twice a week - and that irrigates to a depth of 400mm.  The amount of water used - 11 litres / tree twice a week!!  That is one massive water saving!

The principle pf the TreeHog is that the water sprays inside the unit, hitting the walls.  It then runs down the walls to the soil (and tree roots) below, where it is absorbed.  The wind cannot deflect / waste the spray, and, being enclosed, the soil below is kept damp as the sun is pelting down, and the prevailing wind cannot cause evapouration of the moisture in the damp soil.  Given the opening at the top, any heat inside the unit is expelled up through that opening.

Given our current drought ...
Rainfall record from Nov 2013 to July 2017
and predicted future water scarcity situation due to global warming, our fruit trees need all the help we can give them.

Take a look at this link too:


The information there may give you pause for thought.

Our lemon trees are now - 7 years old and we are getting very little harvest from them.  Lack of water is, I think, the cause.  We feed them, and have given them water regularly.  But, fighting extreme heat coupled with reduced rainfall, doesn't help a tree produce it's crop.  Add to that 5 busy chickens who delight in moving every scrap of mulch we have placed below the trees, and you'll have some idea of what we've been facing...
Attaching the sprinkler or drip irrigation head to the inside of
  the TreeHog s simple.
The TreeHog opens up on one side and allows you to place the required irrigation head in a corner - according to your requirements.  Closing up the Treehog again is simple and a couple of cable ties holds the unit closed round the base of the tree.

Stay tuned - I will report back on the TreeHogs at the end of this coming summer. Not all our lemon trees / fruit trees ( or bushes) will get a TreeHog, so, in effect, I will have a control in place.  The difference is going to be interesting to note...

If anyone else would like some for their precious trees or shrubs:  http://www.treehog.co.za/  The cost, at R59.00 each, are not expensive.

The TreeHogs round the base of the trees look quite cute, don't they 😅
Although the tree in the foreground is a wild plum, we don't
 have the nerve to move it.  Given it's size I don't think it would
 survive, and we leave the fruit it produces for the birds to enjoy.

Disclaimer: I received absolutely nothing in exchange for sharing this info - it is merely my ongoing 'sharing is caring' taking place 😉


Mum said...

Hope they work for you.

possumqueensa said...

That is a really nice idea. My weekly tree watering with buckets takes about 20 minutes, so clearly I don't have nearly enough trees.

Dani said...

Mum - I hope so too. You have, in effect, giant tree hogs in your greenhouses / tunnels ;) Here, that wouldn't work as the heat build up inside would send everything in "bolt" stage very quickly.

Dani said...

pqsa - Lol 20 minutes. Yup, I reckon you can do without TreeHogs where you are now. But, who knows where you'll land up in the future...? ;)

African Bliss said...

Wow cant beleave how your trees have grown

Dani said...

AB - Yup, they've grown, but are producing very little fruit. Hopefully the TreeHogs will sort that out...?!

Shirley said...

Holding thumbs for you. It sounds very promising. Best wishes

Dani said...

Shirley - Youor comment landed up in my spam folder...?

The tree hogs are working an absolute treat. We are finally on our way to achieving a lemon harvest :D