SEEDBALLS Kenya

Seedballs Kenya has pioneered a method of mass producing seedballs for low cost and efficient reintroduction of trees and grass species into degraded areas in Africa.

Seedballs are inexpensive and can be easily dispersed over large areas which are often hard to reach. Our indigenous seeds, supplied and certified by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), are not treated or altered in any way.

 

Simply put, we are giving Mother Nature a helping hand by protecting the seeds from predators and sun until the appropriate natural environmental conditions trigger germination.  

 

Direct seeding reduces transplant shock and helps the young trees grow stronger roots which inturn helps them grow into stronger trees.  We focus on the rehabilitation of land so damaged by man's activity that natural reforestation is unlikely or not possible at all.

 

Using seedballs, the reintroduction of tree species that have been partially or completely removed from their original environments is as natural a process as can be undertaken.  

We assume the role of missing seed-producing 'Mother Trees' and leave nurture to nature.

 

What is a Seedball?

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 and grass) 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.

Seedballs Kenya
Seedballs Kenya

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Seedballs kenya 6--

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Seedballs kenya 1--

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Seedballs Kenya

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Reasons to use our Seedballs

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See our video of a ground squirrel ignoring Seedballs

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Seedballs are inexpensive.

Seedballs do not require tilling.

 Just Throw & grow!

Large quantities of Seedballs can be easily dispersed over wide areas that are often hard to reach.

 

Biochar coating protects the seed within from predators, such as animals & birds, & extremes of temperatures.

The coating protects the seed until the first rains & then provides a moist environment to encourage germination.

The Biochar coating contains soluble nutritious organic binders that promote successful germination.

Seedballs can be distributed at any time of year and will wait until the first rains to start germination.

Direct seeding with Seedballs results in no transplant shock that is often seen when using plastic bags for planting.

Seedballs allow long healthy tap roots, unconstricted by plastic bags.  Long healthy tap roots produce deeper, more robust plants that are also more drought resistant.

Our Seedballs contain indigenous tree & grass seeds, approved & certified by KEFRI  that have not been pre-treated in any way.

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See our video of a vervet monkey rejecting

Seedballs with a tasty seed inside

See our video of parrot billed weavers &

superb starlings ignoring Seedballs

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See our video of a white browed sparrow weaver

ignoring Seedballs

We assume the role of missing seed-producing 'Mother Trees' and leave nurture to nature.

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Say No to plastic bags for planting!

 

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Baby Tree Seedballs Kenya 4

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Baby Tree Seedballs Kenya 1

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Baby Tree Seedballs Kenya 3

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Baby Tree Seedballs Kenya 4

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Eco-Friendly
& Natural

- 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- soluble nutitious organic binders promotes successful germination.

 

- 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 low energy and fossil fuel free.

 

- Eco-friendly marketing

We focus on online marketing to reduce use of paper waste.

Kelvin Kamachu

THE DO'S

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Do think like a Tree! Look for pro-active micro habitats 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, grasses 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.

THE DONT'S

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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 transport SeedBalls internationally without appropriate phytosanitation certificates.

 

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.

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.

Seed Germination

Our biochar seedballs contain seeds that have not been pre-treated in any way. 

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.

 

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.

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See our time lapse video

 

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...

Kelvin Kamachu

We assume the role of missing seed-producing 'Mother Trees' and leave nurture to nature.

Quality Control Method
- every 12.5kg produced.

 

STEP 1
Random sampling from each 12.5kg batch of Seedballs made.

STEP 2
Counting Seedballs sampled.

STEP 3
Breaking up & mixing sampled Seedballs into water.

STEP 4
Counting seeds recovered within sampled Seedballs.

Help offset your carbon footprint.

Let's re-green Kenya & help to reduce global CO2.