Landscape Architect & Specifier News

SEP 2017

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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88 Landscape Architect and Specifier News I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 6 0 9 'Cocoon' Promoted as Successful Planting Method for Degraded Soils or Arid Climes The 'Cocoon' is a low-cost, 100% biodegradable planting system from Land Life Co. https://tinyurl.com/y886lzgz that was developed to allow trees and plants to successfully grow in arid or degraded soil conditions. It is designed to support a seedling through that first critical year by providing water and shelter, allowing the seedling to produce healthy deep roots that can then tap into the subsurface water supply to sustain itself. The 'Cocoon' is a round water reservoir made of "paper pulp, crop residuals or grasses and other FDA improved organic compounds" that ensure "water tightness during the first year." The 10-gallon reservoir is only filled once, i.e., at the initial planting. The water is slowly dripped to the tree via wicks. As the reservoir empties and degrades over time, the shallow pit in which it is seated serves as a micro-catchment to collect surface runoff. The reservoir becomes an organic soil amendment as it degrades. Mycorrhizal fungi are added to the soil. The fungi colonize the roots, increasing water and nutrient absorption capabilities, while the plant provides the fungus with carbohydrates from photosynthesis. Mycorrhizal fungi also release enzymes into the soil that dissolve organic nitrogen, phosphorus and iron. These fungi are present in 90% of natural forests and woodlands. Land Life Co. has partnered with Fasergusswerk in Germany to produce and ship the Cocoons. The company maintains this planting system is 10 times cheaper than traditional tree planting, and has planted trees in cocoons in 25 countries with a reported survival rate of 80-95 percent. New trees are planted in the biodegradable reservoir ('cocoon'), which holds enough water for the new tree to establish roots. Mycorrhizal fungi are added to the soil. A reservoir top protects the reservoir, and a cylindrical shelter is placed around the tree to protect the plant from the elements and small animals.

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