Music therapy, for trees!

Treating trees with music? Along with 130 other French arborists, EARL Saint Féliu proudly uses the progressive technique, developed in the 1960s.

Topiary Musicians at Shanghai’s Century Park

Although music is becoming more accepted as a clinical and evidence-based form of therapy for a range of physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs, in the realm of plants, it is still very much attributed to pseudo-science.

Indeed it is rejected by the French government agency for agricultural research, the Institut National Recherche Agronomique (INRA).

Never one to be troubled by the attempted interference of state powers (ahem ahem!), les Pays Catalan once again stand defiant.

Sharka virus, also known as plum pox

In 2015, Managing Director of agricultural holding, EARL Saint Féliu, Patrick Bolfa, was forced to cull 7000 peach trees from his 400 hectare plantation when they became irretrievably infected by the sharka virus, also known as plum pox.

In the face of such devastating loss, Patrick was ready to try anything and turned to the little-known, much-snubbed technique of music therapy.

For 3 years he has been administering melodies to his trees twice a day and has succeeding in cutting mortality rates by an impressive 50%!

Patrick Bolfa’s music therapy, Saint Féliu © France 3

Pieces vary from 4 to 10 minutes and are broadcast via a series of loud speakers, each with a range of up to 200m.

The music imitates the vibrational phenomena of the plants themselves and naturally stimulates the cells in charge of repair and regrowth.

Building on the ideas championed in the 1960s by singer and Doctor of Physical Theory, Français Joël Sternheimer, the Parisian company, Genodics, today use synthesisers to create the medicinal music.

Gives a whole new meaning to The Stranglers: “Walking on the beaches, looking at the peaches”. 

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