Make a Rewilding Stick

How to make a Rewilding Wand / Rewilding Stick

We have developed a simple, general-purpose Rewilding Stick to use for planting different types of seeds. I am mainly testing it with tree seeds, but obviously it can work with other seeds types.

The stick is intended for people who need to put a considerable amount of seeds in the ground either as part of a re-forestation project, a small holding, or whatever.

The idea is to create a way of planting seeds:
+ That allows the person to do so at walking speed (even if it takes a bit of practise to get to that level).
+ That allows planting while remaining upright without having to stoop, or to bend down.
+ That is quick, cheap and easy to make using cheap and commonly available tools.
+ That is based on easily available materials. + That works as a general purpose tool for various types of seeds.
+ That works with different types of soils.
+ That can be used to plant on unprepared ground (i.e. bare soil, moss, leaf litter, etc.)
+ That has a simple design which can act as a Proof of Concept which can then be customised when necessary to suit planting of specific types of seeds on specific types of ground.

What Sparks Your Imagination?

A Rewilding Stick is really just a piece of hollow metal tube with a handle at the top, a hole drilled just below the handle for seeds to go in, and a “blade” cut out of the bottom end. It could be made from many things, such a piece of scrap metal pipe, with one end curved as a handle. However, most people won’t have a piece of scrap metal pipe handy. Therefore, these examples are based hollow metal walking sticks which are fairly cheap, and easily available where I live. Naturally, people will adapt the idea and make them out of what is cheap and easily available where they live. It is also possible, to make them, or parts of them, out of some types of plastic. The main thing is to experiment and try out different possibilities.


Donor Stick Rewilding Wand

Rewilding Stick: The Story so Far…

On the right is the image of one of the sticks I use for the basis of making the Rewilding Wands. This is a good type of stick to use to start with as it is easy to modfiy and can handle a wide range of seeds and soil conditions owing to it having a wide tube (which does not tend to clog up as easily with soil or mud as a thin tube would).

Note: Please don’t try to use the Rewilding Stick as walking stick. Once the stick has been modified it will be weaker and not may be able to hold your weight. It might break unexpectedly, and cause unjury, if you attempt to use it as a walking stick.

The stick is cheap and fairly sturdy. (It costs about £10.00 including postage. )

I decided to limit the seed size to 10mm maximum initially. (If you remove the height adjustement mechanism and make the seed hole bigger it can handle larger seeds. However, you would need to glue the two parts of the stick together permanently – or use another method for height adjustement).


These are simple modifications that turn the walking stick into a Rewilding Stick:

Note: please use safety googles and safety gloves, etc., when using tools.

++ Temporarily remove the inside tube from the walking stick by pressing the brass height-adjustment buttons all the way in and pulling the tube all the way out.

seed-planting-rubber-foot ++ Remove the rubber foot (or ferrule as it called) from the end of the tube. It it a friction fit on this stick so a steady, firm pull with the hand removed it. Keep the foot for later use as you might want to use it as a cover for the blade.

++ If you see a nylon fitting at the top end of the inside tube, remove it, as can get in the way of the seeds from going through. This nylon fitting is also just a friction fit so a steady firm pull with pair of flyers removes it.

++ Re-insert the inside tube back into the outer tube of the walking stick and locate the brass height adjustment buttons on the bottom set of holes (so the stick is at maximum length).

++ Use a hacksaw to cut away 1 inch (2.5 cm) from half the diameter of the bottom end of the inside tube. (The hacksaw I used cost £1 from a “pound” shop.) The offcut should be at the front of the stick so the blade which is formed by the piece left will be at the back. (The tube can be rotated 180 degrees on most sticks so it’s not usually a problem if you get it wrong).

seed-planting-offcut-side-view seed-planting-stick-offcut-end-view Side view and end view of offcut from tube.

++ Hammer flat the end of the half-pipe section remaining on the inside tube so it forms a “blade”. Ffile or sandpaper any rough edges and corners from the “blade” so you don’t risk cutting yourself in future. You may also want to round the flat edge of the blade slightly (but don’t sharpen the blade, or it might be classed as an offensive weapon if taken into a public area – as well as making it dangerous in use).

seed-planting-stick-blade-front-view seed-planting-stick-blade-side-view front and side view of “blade”

walking-stick-to-seed-planting-stick Hole drilled in front of stick near the top for the seeds and “blade” at the bottom. *You can use the rubber foot as a cover for the blade. Just squeeze the foot flat a bit as you put it on the stick so it will fit over the blade. Be careful that your hand does not slip, or might hurt yourself on the blade.

++ Drill a good sized hole in the front middle of the stick (i.e. opposite side of where the handle is sticking out). This is where the seeds go in. Drill it about 3.5 inches (9cm) from the top of the stick. I usually drill a 10mm hole.

Testing The Rewilding Stick

You are now ready for testing. (Just reverse the instructions for left-handed use. It is best to be able to use it with either hand.)

With the Rewilding Wand in your right hand.

  1. Get a seed ready in your left hand (perhaps keep them in a left pocket for convenience).
  2. Turn the stick anti-clockwise so that the outside edge of your hand (the karate chop point) is pointing away from you.
  3. Place the blade about half way into the ground about a foot in front of you.
  4. While taking a step forward with your left foot, start to turn the Wand clockwise and insert the seed when you get to about 90 degrees and carry on till you are about 180 degrees.
  5. As you lift the Wand up, step forward with your right foot and place it on the resulting divet.
  6. Go to Step 1 and repeat.

With practise it should be possible to get a fluid motion going so that the different Steps merge into a flow. The goal is to be able to plant a seed every second step. On very rough ground, or for wider spacing, it might need to be every 4th step.

When you get the feel of doing it with the stick on your right hand, try switching to the left. That way you can switch hands if one hand gets tired.

Good planting!

William Martin