Seed germination rates in the wild vary widely within species. Some tree seeds, like the Nandi Flame and Siala (Markhamia) require little more than a couple rain showers within a week to sprout. Acacias are rather different, with most species adopting a more conservative approach evolved for harsher less predictable dryland environments.
Acacia seeds are produced in vast numbers and normally have a self-protective dormancy period. Typically the seed does not expect to fall off the tree and find moist fertile soil immediately.
It's outer coating is tough and resilient and the life within is designed to be triggered into germination by appropriate external conditions, such as a week or two of contact with moist soil, heat and chemicals from fire, acids from browser's stomachs or within dung, and external nicks and scratches.
Tree nurseries commonly stimulate acacia seeds to germinate by prolonged soaking, sometimes even in boiling water and/or by nicking (scraping) the bottom of the seed. Some seeds even respond to brief immersion in concentrated sulphuric acid. Batch-wise preparation of seeds in this fashion is suitable for the controlled environment of a tree nursery. It is not recommended to 'trick' acacia seeds into germination when seeds are distributed back into the wild over large areas of unprepared wilderness land with no guaranteed water supply.
- 100% Natural and 100% GMO free!
The tree seeds we use are all sourced from the Kenya Forestry Seed Center who has a stock of seed of about 220 tree species collected from more than 600 localities (provenances) around Kenya. We use this provenance data to guide us in our seed distribution efforts.
- Natural organic seed coating
We use salvaged charcoal dust from urban charcoal vending site in Nairobi- makes these seeds safe enough to even eat!
- Recycled packaging
We support local small businesses! We source all of our paper bags & packaging materials locally and our printing is done by a small start up company in Nairobi.
- Low carbon manufacturing
Our manufacturing process is fossil fuel free!
- Eco-friendly marketing
We focus on online marketing to reduce use of paper flyers etc.
Do think like a Tree! Look for pro-active microhabitats for your seedballs. Favor areas likely to conserve moisture, and places wildlife and livestock can't access easily. BE the mother-tree!
Do foster vacant or degraded land and fill empty urban spaces with trees and flowers.
Do obtain permission from the land managers first if you'd like to re-seed in a conservation area.
Do ensure the site is not due for imminent development and that the plants will thrive there.
Do your best to match plant and tree species to their natural environmental types- e.g. highland, dryland, lakeshore and swampland. Each to it's own.
Don't throw seedballs at people or windows. Please ensure that nothing or nobody will be damaged or harmed by your flying seedballs.
Don't interfere with food crops by spreading SeedBalls across agricultural fields.
Don't throw them on land with obvious inadequate growing conditions. If there is insufficient water, light and no obvious soil for the plants to anchor themselves, they will most likely eventually perish.
Don't take SeedBalls out of Kenya or you may contravene various phytosanitation and biosafety laws.
Don't be impatient. Some seeds germinate only after several rainy seasons. Growing trees is a noble act of kindness, it takes time and perseverance.
A Seedball is simply that - a seed inside of a ball of charcoal dust mixed with some nutritious binders. We are focusing on helping reduce the costs of planting various useful indigenous plant species (mostly trees!) in Kenya. The biochar coating of the ball helps protect the seed within from predators such as birds, rodents and insects and extremes of temperature until the rains arrive! Once soaked, the seedball will help retain and prolong a moist environment around the seed to encourage germination.
Please refer to the maps on our website and facebook page for guidance.
The seeds undergo grading and germination tests conducted by KEFRI and each batch can be traced back to its original seed orchard in Kenya. Otherwise the seeds within are still in their natural state.
Many seeds may respond to moisture and germinate in the first rainy season, others to a mechanical disturbance such as being trampled by wildlife or tumbled amongst rocks along a seasonal stream bed. Some may just wait and bide their time for several years.
The biochar coating of the ball helps protect the seed within from predators such as rodents and insects, dehydration, and extremes of temperature. When wet, the seedball will help retain and prolong a moist environment around the seed to encourage germination. At this time the char (charcoal powder) and other components of the seedball will offer an initial nutritious boost.
Biochar seedballs contain seeds that have not been pre-treated in any way.
JUST THROW AND GROW!
When direct seeding using KEFRI certified indigenous acacia tree seeds, you do not have to worry about birds, rodents or insects eating your seeds before the rains come. Our biochar coating greatly increases their chance to germinate and grow!
Our seedballs are a special blend of charcoal dust, nutrients and binders sourced from long dead acacia trees that are now giving life to a whole new generation of forests thanks to more than 35 combined years of Kenyan charcoal industry expertise from Chardust Ltd and Cookswell Jikos.
So, by distributing adequate quantities of BIOCHAR SEEDBALLS back into the wild you are encouraging reforestation in both space AND time, and allowing the Acacia seed's built-in sensors to determine when is the best time to start growing.
This is the NATURAL approach to reforestation and is particularly appropriate for harsh environments. In the long term, this initiative will also be investing much needed stimulus revenue into the Kenya national tree seed growing and collecting industry, helping to expand our forest cover through the development of new tree seed orchards and encouraging Kenyans to grow seed collection trees on small scale farms.
6,057,000 SEEDBALLS DISTRIBUTED SINCE SEP. 2016
A film of 25 sesbania sesban seedballs on the left and 15 eragrostis superba grass seedballs on the right watered once every other day at first and then it started raining.