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- 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.
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.
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.
Our biochar seedballs contain seeds that have not been pre-treated in any way.
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.
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.
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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.
Please contact us or refer to the maps on our website and facebook page for guidance.
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.
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, 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.
We assume the role of the missing,
seed producing 'Mother Trees'
and leave nurture to nature.
Photo courtesy of Kelvin Kamachu
Help offset your carbon footprint.
Let's re-green Kenya &
help to reduce global CO2.
3 month old
SAPLING from a PLASTIC BAG
SAPLING from a SEEDBALL
The plastic bag constricts and stresses the growth
of the root system, impacting future growth & health
of the plant.
Direct seeding with a seedball allows a long, healthy tap root, ensuring a stronger, healthier plant with deeper roots that
can withstand extremes of
drought & grazing