Choosing a shelter
Forestry – Choosing the right treeshelter
As there are many reasons for using a treeshelter there are also many considerations in choosing the right treeshelter. The key requirement is to understand your objectives in using a treeshelter. Do you have a single or multiple objectives? Are you looking to optimise the growing conditions of the plant or are you looking for basic protection? We show here some of the factors that you should consider.
- Size and type of planting stock
- Site conditions
- Planting conditions
- Climate and local growing conditions
- Risk of animal damage
- Weed control measures
- Management regime
- Budgetary constraints
- Labour availability
A key advantage of Tubex treeshelters is that SMALL plants can be used in all shelters – 20 – 40cm or 1+1s. “If you want a large tree, plant a small one!”
Cell/container grown stock or bare-root stock can be equally effective.
Broad categories of planting:
Forest or Woodland planting : Standards, Standard Plus, Ventex
Hedgerow planting: Ecostarts, wraps
Wraps are only used for slender plants
The diameter of the Tubex treehelters vary within a range and between ranges. It is the minimum diameter within a range that must be considered. The diameter of the tree when planted and the length of life of the tube (whether for growth optimisation or protection) then need to be considered. There are many variables here so ask us for advice in specific situations.
Tubular treeshelters (such as Tubex treeshelters) that retain their shape always provide a better environment than a square shelter, which can often become flattened in time. Tubex treeshelters (except for wraps) are designed to be staked outside the tube – optimising growing space within the tube.
Treeshelters can be used effectively within a regime of “natural regeneration”, encouraging and protecting the specimen trees.
Is the site exposed? Wind tunnel tests indicate that tubular shelters provide much better resistance to exposed sites. Tubex treeshelters are also designed with strengthening rods at the point where the tube is attached to the stake – preventing the shelter from breaking away from the stake as it is buffeted in the wind.
Forest conditions can be harsh - cold, windy and barren. Tubex treeshelters are packed in bundles that are easy to handle and transport around the site.
The quality of the tie is very important. The Tubex premium tie has been designed to be operable whilst wearing thick gloves. It is also releasable, to allow removal or maintenance to the plant. We think that our ties save contractors a significant installation time.
Climate affects the speed at which trees grow. In some climates the temperatures can become high. Tubex has developed the patented Ventex product to produce balanced stem height and diameter growth, and this product is particularly popular in hotter climates.
Temperature differences within and without a solid tube do exist but they are minimal.
Tubex treeshelters provide effective protection against animal browsing from a range of different animals. The larger the animal, the taller the tube that is required.
Tubex treeshelters can provide protection from competing weed growth or protection from herbicides. If herbicides are used it is NOT recommended that a Ventex is used as the lower parts of the plant stem become exposed. Treeshelters with higher level ventilation, e.g. Combi-tube, are fine as long as the herbicide spraying is controlled and at a low level.
The intention with a Tubex treeshelter is that they reduce the amount of management and maintenance that is required after planting. However, where maintenance is deemed necessary Tubex treeshelters act as ideal plant locators in areas of high weed growth.
Although the shelters degrade under exposure to sunlight we recommend that shelters are removed when they have fulfilled their function. Solid Tubex treeshelters are much easier to remove from the plant, compared to nets as they do not suffer from the problem of side shoots growing though the net.
Your choice of shelter can affect the budget in a number of different ways. At a basic level, if your initial budget is tight then you should consider options such as ecostarts and wraps, as contrasted with more expensive options such as standard treeshelters. However, there are many other factors to consider, most importantly the costs of plants, of labour and the alternative options that you have. Smaller plants and less labour will usually far outweigh the additional cost of a larger, Tubex treeshelter against the alternatives.
The availability of labour can often be a consideration. In this situation a product that can be transported and installed quickly, and which reduces subsequent maintenance will be advantageous. The Tubex treeshelter is designed to be fitted speedily, compared to alternatives that often require partial forming or the installation of ties on site, or require multiple stake/cane supports.