Tree guards and shelters

Early removal, biodegradability and wildlife issues are all tackled by the latest kit, Sally Drury reports.

Q: What can we do about shelters on sites where their early removal is required?

A: Tubex has a collection and recycling scheme aimed at customers needing to dispose of used or non-reusable Tubex shelters. The scheme seeks to reduce the environmental impact of products, minimise waste going to landfill and help customers easily dispose of shelters in an environmentally-friendly way.

Recycled Tubex shelters are reprocessed by Econoplas, manufacturer of the Aquadyne drainage product used for cycle tracks, children's play areas, green-roof construction and to aid drainage of turf facilities from football pitches to golf greens.

Q: Is there any news of developments to aid degradation of shelters?

A: Tubex has launched Bio-hybrid - the next generation of tree shelter developed to increase sustainability and improve biodegradability.

The Bio-hybrid is manufactured using a minimum of 30 per cent starch polymer and is a first step again from the industry-wide reliance on 100 per cent petrochemical-based raw materials. The starch gives a natural, initial biodegradation that encourages the accelerated photo-degradation of the polypropylene content and so hastens the overall degradation of the shelter.

Q: What can be used to prevent damage caused by rabbits?

A: You can use spirals, mesh tree guards or shelters - so long as they are at least 60cm tall. If hares are the problem, you need to protect the tree to a minimum height of 75cm.

You could also try a new product offered by Farm Forestry Co of Shropshire. Called Grazers, the product has been found to be effective against damage from deer and rabbits and is a concoction of trace elements for use as a spray around the base of newly-planted trees. Grazer is available in one-litre bottles.

Q: Is there a way to prevent birds from getting trapped in a tree shelter?

A: Forestry supplier Farm Forestry Co has introduced an anti-bird tube net top. This prevents songbirds falling into the tube and getting trapped. The lightweight mesh is sold on the roll and economic to use. As the young tree grows out of the tube, the mesh is gradually pushed off.

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