I have met Natalie Rowels so far only by email when requesting to buy some of our plastic seed trays, but she is an absolute amazing inspiration !

Natalie has grown and donated thousands of yellow wood trees to various schools and organisations which she grows in her back yard! She gave at least 1000 large saplings to a forest project started by the Cape Parrot Project in Hogsback in the Eastern Cape. The project is cultivating an indigenous forest in an attempt to provide a habitat for Africa’s most endangered parrots.

 “The idea is to ensure a future food source for the Cape parrots, which are facing extinction with only about 800 flying wild in South Africa.”

Natalie Rowles- a true inspiration

How’s that for changing the world one housewife at a time!

Over the past 15 years Natalie Rowles has donated over 9000 saplings. From schools, municipalities to farms and forests. She is now using the loose Dela Plast tubes to grow these seeds in to make it even easier to transplant these saplings out. She collects fallen seeds from indigenous yellow-wood trees growing in her garden, then sows and transplants them into plant bags for donation.

The pluspoint regarding Yellow wood trees

A Yellowwood tree can live for between 250 and a thousand years. They also grow larger than most other hardwood trees. A small tree can offset over a tonne of CO2 over its lifetime, so the Yellowwood trees are in demand, but quite scarce and expensive to find. With the help of sponsors and volunteers, Natalie can provide an annual steady supply of these seeds from her own female tree at her home. She can go with volunteers after rainfalls and dig out hundreds of little saplings growing under the Yellowwood trees in Coedmore Road, as well as at the Stainbank Nature Reserve, where she can also obtain seeds of the Podocarpus Falcatus – the false Yellowwood – which is the same as the big tree at Hogsback and at Knysna Forest. These little saplings grow in rock hard soil on the verges and die off due to lack of water or being removed from verges as weeds. Natalie’s efforts to save them and grow them into trees is her solution for supplying schools and the public with more saplings nearly instantly.

“I believe the responsibility for ensuring that our environment is sustainable rests on the shoulders of each and every one of us. We need to help the government and local authorities make our environment more liveable for ourselves as well as for future generations,”  says Natalie

Keeping your environmental footprint small already makes a difference!

Rowles, who is based near Pietermaritzburg, ensures her own environmental footprint stays small by growing a 100% organic food garden of vegetables, herbs, berries and other fruit, which saves petrol and the need to go shopping.
Rowles is dedicated to energy efficiency and using recycled water. She has built a simple solar geyser system to reduce electricity consumption at a local pre-primary school as well as two for her own use at home.
“I use swimming pool hoses to channel water from my bath and washing machine outlets to my lawn, where it soaks on a slope to my fruit trees.”

The costs of the projects come out of her own pocket, although she is always pleased to receive donations!

A true inspiration if ever I have seen one!

Please read more about our clients using our plastic seedling trays successfully!

Natalie Rowles donating trees
yellow wood tree seedling planting

Plastic Seed Trays are made of durable injection moulded plastic.

Using plastic propagation trays provides a great many benefits for growers and can directly help your bottom line and return on investment.

1. Super Long Life Design

Typically, a Polystyrene tray will only last about 4 seasons. Good quality injection moulded plastic trays are able to last for over 10 years on average – and as long as 20 years if care is taken. While the capital outlay to acquire plastic trays is generally larger than the capital outlay to acquire Polystyrene seed trays, over the course of ten years they are far more economical in purely cash terms. Plastic seed trays also offer the added benefit of better plants, better sterilisation and more plants per square foot, plastic trays become not only financially viable but financially beneficial.

With a Polystyrene tray, the first damage is typically a broken outer wall where a cell has snapped out. This means that the next time you fill this tray the soil, and possibly the seed, falls out. This can get very expensive very quickly as seeds can often be quite a large investment themselves. Eventually, it comes to a point that you are losing too much money from broken cells, so you simply through the tray away. Injection moulded plastic trays do not present the same challenges.

2. Improved Sterilization and Disease Reduction

To sterilise injection moulded trays or containers all that needs to be done is a simple surface sterilisation. Plastic trays will not deform at the high temperatures required to clean and kill the disease. Deformed trays could influence plant pulling and cause seedlings to be damaged. To sterilise Polystyrene you have to sterilise the whole block of material and this is only practically possible with heat. When using polystyrene trays, you run the risk of losing some trays after a single sterilisation, but certainly, after a couple years a good proportion of trays will become unusable.
Over time a Polystyrene tray will allow roots and disease into the Polystyrene and thus you get a tray to tray variation and diseases carry over, this never happens with an injection moulded tray.

3. Improved Plant Quality & Air Pruning

Moulded plastic trays offer a higher level of detail in the form of plastic ribs and holes. This facilitates exceptional and natural root structures as the seedlings grow. Roots that are not tangled up in themselves grow a lot better, resulting in a stronger, much more consistent plant.

Polystyrene trays are porous, this might cause water and fertiliser to get lost. Eventually, roots also penetrate polystyrene trays, this causes roots to break off during the pulling process. In general plastic moulded trays result in a better quality, more uniform plant but they also pull a lot easier.

4. Better Integration with Mechanization

As plastic is a more precise material than Polystyrene, injection moulded trays better suit automatic transplanting systems. Plastic moulded trays are more durable too. They survive many more seedings and extractions.

5. More Plants per Square Foot

As plastic is tougher and stronger than Polystyrene, cell walls can much thinner and trays no longer need a thick outer rim to keep the tray rigid. The thinner rims mean that more cells can be placed into the same space without affecting the spacing of the plants too much.

6. Increased Cell Volume

Rather than increasing the number of cells, injection moulded trays can also be designed to have a larger cell volume. The greater cell volume is achieved because of the tough nature of plastic. The strength of the material allows the cells to share thin cells walls, thereby increasing cell size when it’s required, such as when you require more soil and the water and nutrients it carries.

Ready to hear what we can offer?

Email us or give us a call on 012 391 7002


Read more about our clients using the Delaplast Seedling trays successfully for berry planting or tree planting!