Trees prevent flooding during heavy rains by several mechanisms. First, broad leaf trees slow rainfall when rain hits their leaves and must slowly percolate to the ground. This gives more time for the ground to absorb the water as the rain reaches the ground over a longer time period. Just as leaves of a tree decrease vertical water speed, trunks and roots of the tree (and other vegetation) slow the horizontal speed of water once it has reached the ground. This also gives the water more time to be absorbed into the soil.
The roots of the tree increase space between soil particles, allowing the water that does reach the ground to follow these root created channels to deeper water reservoirs. Once rainfall does reach the roots of the tree, it is absorbed by the roots, and lifted by the tree into the canopy and atmosphere again in a process called evapotranspiration. This process decreases the total amount of water with which our streams and rivers need to deal.
Trees also prevent erosion. The most obvious way trees to this is through the binding effect of their roots, turning soil into a type of reinforced dirt. As mentioned above, trees also slow water flows, which decreases erosion. The canopies of trees also decrease wind speed, another cause of erosion when the soil is dry or being plowed for agriculture. Trees planted as riparian buffers (along waterways) prevent soil erosion by fast flowing water already in the stream, as demonstrated by the image of a unforested waterway below.
|A creek bank that has continually eroded due to the lack of stabilizing tree roots along it. This creek will get ever wider (and shallower) until trees are planted.|
How can the Groasis Waterboxx help with prevention of flooding and erosion? Trees can be hard to establish, prone to death after transplant and during their critical first year. When trees are bought from the big box stores they generally have fine canopies but very poor root systems, with a destroyed primary or tap root. Because of their poor roots, these trees require frequent watering, and don't become well established and stabilize the soil for several years. The Groasis Waterboxx allows smaller, bare root (with tap root intact) trees to be purchased (or found wild), and planted with the Waterboxx. The Waterboxx requires watering only at initial set up, and never again. Dew and rain water will fill the Waterboxx. The Waterboxx slowly releases water to the roots of a growing tree, forming a water column in the soil beneath the tree that allows the tree's roots to get well established and grow straight down. Once the tree's roots reach deeper water, you will see a growth spurt and the Waterboxx can be removed. The Waterboxx can be reused several more times (for up to ten years) on other trees. Watch a video of the Waterboxx in action below
You can buy the Groasis Waterboxx in the United States from Dew Harvest. We would love to hear your comments below - to leave one, please click on "Comments".