Landscaping – 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 simply looking to optimise the growing conditions for the plant or are you looking for basic protection from rabbits, herbicide or grass-cutting activities?
Factors that you should consider.
- Size and type of planting stock
- Site conditions
- Planting conditions
- Risk of animal damage
- Weed control measures
- Management regime
- Budgetary constraints
A key advantage of Tubex treeshelters is that SMALL plants can be used in all shelters – 20-40cm or 1+1s. The old adage ‘if you want a large tree, plant a small one’ is true, particularly when using treeshelters to enhance the growth of smaller trees.
Cell/container grown stock or bare-root stock can be equally effective.
Broad categories of planting - which shelter?
- Trees on level ground use Standards, Standard Plus or Combitube
- Trees on sloping ground (eg. roadside embankments) use 0.75m shelters or taller to guard against rabbits.
- Shrub species use Tubex shrubshelters
- Hedgerow planting or when using small trees/whips, use Ecostarts, Easywraps or Fruitwraps
Tubex shelter diameters
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.
Round versus square
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.
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.
Tubex treeshelters are packed in bundles that are easy to handle and transport around the site – particularly important when climbing steep embankments.
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 significant installation time.
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. Treeshelters with higher level ventilation, e.g. Combi-tube are fine as long as the herbicide spraying is controlled at a low level.
When strimming or mowing, Tubex shelters not only provide physical protection from accidental damage, but also clearly mark where the tree is – especially important for small, newly planted stock.
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 necessary Tubex treeshelters act as ideal plant locators in areas of high weed growth.
Although the shelters degrade [see degredation] under exposure to sunlight we recommend that shelters are removed when they have fulfilled their function, particularly if they are deemed to represent a litter hazard on road-side plantations.
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 as with nets.
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 or 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.