What is Grey Water?

When considering planting a million trees in Africa, one of the biggest headaches is water.

A young sapling requires watering every day for the first few months of it’s life, and then once a week until it is around 4 years old. By this age, the roots should be deep enough for it to be able to reach into the water table and draw up water as needed.


One of the biggest problems in Africa is that there has been such extensive deforestation that in some countries, like Kenya, the land is only 2% forested. When the trees are chopped down, the rivers dry up, the top soil gets blown away by the winds, and farmers and crops alike suffer.

All the research points to the fact that trees planted in the tropics are more effective at combatting climate change than those planted elsewhere.

When considering hosting holidays for people to come and plant trees with us, one of the most important items on the agenda is clean, abundant water, sometimes hot for the clients. We take clean water for granted in so many countries, and yet for some people, water (not always clean) can be a good 2 hour walk away.

So for taking showers, drinking and cooking, we need to find a way to have a good reliable source of water. Land with springs on it is the first choice, and then after that we resort to digging a well, or finding an alternative.

When water is scarce, one of the best ways to make it go further is to recycle it. Tree Planting Holidays is going to make it a policy that all lotions, potions and washing products are non toxic, organic and safe for the trees. We will ultimately supply all the toiletries to ensure that no pollutants enter the water system, and encourage our guests to consider their mosquito repellent, and sun tan lotion, and other products as ultimately all of this gets washed off in the shower. The best option is for the guests is to bring all-natural, biodegradable soaps and products whose ingredients do not harm the plants.

The reason for this is whereas the black water- used for the toilet system – will be either composted or disposed of via a sewage system, the grey water can be reused for the garden and the trees.

Grey water comes from washing machines, showers and baths and can benefit the garden as it often has nutrients in it – in the form of dirt, hair, food and grease- all of which can be used by the plants as fertiliser. Grey water needs to be used relatively quickly as if it is left lying around, it can start to smell as the ingredients begin to break down. 24 hours is recommended.

However, in an environment where water is scarce, and trees require a large quantity of water to get them started, and allow them to grow healthy roots, recycling the water makes absolute sense. Especially when the heat of the summer makes the plants really thirsty and the long rains are but a distant memory.


Image thanks to www.waterwisegroup.com

The tree needs one gallon to every six inches of tree height, according to www.wikihow.com/Plant-a-tree

It needs to be watered at least once a week, until it is well -established. If you want deep roots, you need to water it in a slow trickle, rather than a fast superficial sprinkling. Deep rooted trees are more resistant to droughts and wind. Once they mature, watering will depend on the weather, and the health of the tree.

When thinking of planting one million trees, water is a huge consideration.

The Tree Planting Holidays Team!