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Kiri trees

A Kiri Tree – source: Wikipedia

A Kiri tree, scientifically known as Paulownia tomentosa, is a versatile and fast-growing tree species with remarkable benefits in a permaculture homestead setting. Native to East Asia but now cultivated in various parts of the world, the Kiri tree has gained attention for its unique qualities that align well with permaculture principles.

Characteristics of the Kiri Tree:

  1. Rapid Growth: Kiri trees are renowned for their astonishing growth rate. In just a few years, they can reach substantial heights, making them an excellent choice for quick establishment and yield.
  2. Large Leaves: The Kiri tree boasts large, heart-shaped leaves that provide ample shade. These leaves also contribute to the tree’s ability to enrich the soil beneath with organic matter.
  3. Nitrogen Fixation: Kiri trees are nitrogen-fixing plants, meaning they have a special ability to draw nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that enriches the soil. This property benefits neighboring plants by enhancing soil fertility.
  4. Deep Root System: The extensive root system of the Kiri tree improves soil structure and helps prevent erosion. It can reach deep into the ground to access water and nutrients.
  5. Biomass Production: Kiri trees generate significant biomass, which can be used as mulch, compost material, or even as a source of renewable energy through biomass conversion.

Benefits in a Permaculture Homestead Setting:

  1. Soil Improvement: Due to its nitrogen-fixing ability, the Kiri tree enhances soil fertility and health. It improves the soil’s structure, making it more water-retentive and less prone to erosion.
  2. Agroforestry: Kiri trees can be integrated into agroforestry systems, providing shade to understory crops, fixing nitrogen for neighboring plants, and contributing to a biodiverse ecosystem.
  3. Timber and Wood: The fast growth of Kiri trees makes them a potential source of lightweight and versatile timber, suitable for crafting furniture, construction, and wood products.
  4. Carbon Sequestration: The rapid growth rate of Kiri trees makes them efficient carbon dioxide absorbers, aiding in carbon sequestration efforts.
  5. Erosion Control: The deep root system of Kiri trees helps prevent soil erosion, making them valuable for stabilizing slopes and areas prone to runoff.
  6. Bee Forage: Kiri trees produce beautiful and fragrant flowers that attract bees, contributing to pollination and supporting local bee populations.
  7. Renewable Energy: Kiri wood can be used for biomass energy production, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

In a permaculture homestead, the Kiri tree embodies the principles of diversity, resourcefulness, and regenerative practices. Its rapid growth, nitrogen-fixing capability, and multiple uses make it a versatile addition to a holistic and sustainable approach to land management.

If you’re eager to introduce the versatile Kiri tree to your environment, let’s dive into a detailed guide on propagating, planting, and taking care of these trees, with a focus on their specific water requirements and optimal application.


The most common method for propagating Kiri trees is through seeds:

  1. Seed Collection: Gather seeds from mature Kiri trees in autumn or early winter when their seedpods open.
  2. Seed Preparation: Soak the seeds in water for about 24 hours to enhance germination by softening the hard outer shell.
  3. Germination: Plant the soaked seeds in a well-draining potting mix in a seed tray or small pots. Maintain consistently warm and moist conditions for successful germination, usually within 2 weeks.
  4. Transplanting: Once seedlings have developed several leaves and are sturdy enough, you can transplant them into larger containers or directly into the ground.


  1. Site Selection: Opt for a sunny location with soil that drains well. Although Kiri trees tolerate various soil types, they prefer slightly acidic to neutral soils.
  2. Planting Hole: Prepare a hole twice the size of the root ball. Enhance the soil by mixing in compost.
  3. Spacing: Ensure a spacing of 10-15 feet (3-5 meters) between Kiri trees to accommodate their rapid growth.
  4. Initial Watering: After planting, provide a generous watering to settle the soil and support root establishment.

Caring for Kiri Trees:

  1. Watering: During the first year, water young Kiri trees with approximately 20-30 liters (5-8 gallons) of water per week. Gradually decrease the frequency as the tree establishes itself.
  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, around 2-4 inches deep, to the base of the tree. This conserves moisture and enriches the soil.
  3. Pruning: Trim young Kiri trees to promote healthy branching and a desired shape. Regularly remove dead or overcrowded branches.
  4. Fertilization: While Kiri trees fix nitrogen naturally, supplement with a balanced organic fertilizer during the active growing season.
  5. Protection: Shield young trees from strong winds and extreme temperatures using stakes or windbreaks until they’re sturdier.
  6. Drought Tolerance: As Kiri trees mature, they become more tolerant of drought. However, especially during dry spells, water them with about 20-30 liters (5-8 gallons) every 10-14 days.

Following these guidelines, you can effectively propagate, plant, and nurture Kiri trees, ensuring their healthy development and valuable contributions to your landscape.

For more details you can contact AvaGro, 178 River Plots, Swakopmund, Namibia, +264 85 769 5527, info@avagro-group.com, www.avagro-group.com

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