Tree Tubes = Awesome


#1

This past winter I ordered 40, 4 ft Tree Pro Max Grow Tubes. Two weeks ago I planted some medlar, persimmon, and asian pear. I installed the tubes, and must say that I’m very happy with them. I’ve been using 4 ft welded wire cages for the past few years and don’t like them very much. I want my trees to get out of deer browse range as quickly as possible and this is one of the functions of the tree tube - to grow vertically towards the light. Here’s how I’m planting all new trees for now - remove grass, plant tree, pound in post or pvc, add some wood chips, then lay 3 or 4 ft square of Dewitt weed mat and pin corners, install tree tube, then add a few more inches of wood chips on top of mat. I know England’s sells and uses these so that’s saying something for me. Obviously this isn’t the best method for everyone but I’m happy with it for now. Here are 7 new pawpaws that just got tubes as well.


Looking down on tubed pawpaw.

Does anyone have any negative comments or experiences regarding tree tubes? Anything I should watch out for?


#2

I used to use them and they apparently can sometimes overheat a tree’s cambium in winter (or early spring?) during day and sudden drop in temps and kill the tree- at least it did happen once that I remember, and I think some injury a couple other times. Oh yeah, but that was before they put the holes in them that yours have. 4’ may be a nice height to make an ice cream cone for a deer when tree first pops above the shelter. - you can tape another foot on them before this happens. They do a nice job of protecting against buck rubs when trees grow out of them, but be sure not to let them girdle the tree as the tree expands.


#3

As Alan reports, my tubes created walnut ice cream cones for the deer. Also, I don’t like tubes for small grafted trees. Grafts need attention–removing growth below the graft. Difficult to do with a tube.


#4

Excellent - it sounds like some of their previous flaws have been improved on over time. These have a perforated line running up the length of them that is supposed to allow the tube to self remove if and when the trunk gets that big. But I’ll try and take them off before that happens.

I almost called and changed my order to the 5 ft tubes after I got to thinking these might be a bit too short. Then I got to thinking about all the different ways to extend the height a little bit if I do see damage.


#5

That’s a good point for new grafts needing attention. The 2 zip ties that come with these are the releasable type so it would only take a few seconds to loosen them and lift the tube a little.


#6

I have the same tubes. 3 ft version to protect from rabbits and voles. I live in town so deer aren’t an issue. I really like them.


#7

I’ve used a number of different tubes in 4’ and 5’ lengths over the years. I’ve been happy with the 5’ers…the 4’ers are just too short to protect from deer browsing. Both are better than nothing though


#8

I’m wondering if branching within the tube has become an issue for anyone? Does the shaded environment of the tube inhibit branching in any way? I’m wondering if there could get to be a real charlie foxtrot in there - or will they emerge so quickly that that’s not something to worry about?


#9

Mold… mold… mold…


#10

Please elaborate, Mold wasn’t a problem for the apple whips I’ve protected with tree shelters- and I’m not sure why. It is certainly a logical consequence, especially considering that macintosh is among the varieties I’ve protected with tree shelters- and before they came with ventilating holes!


#11

I had some issues with powdery mildew when using tubes over a decade ago. Tubes on fruit trees aren’t a “set it and forget it” solution. The tubes need to be removed during the growing season to check on growth/prune to a single leader/rub off lower growth/etc. They need to be removed in fall to get all the leaves out, if you don’t they may encourage mice to nest in them over the winter…nearly guaranteeing a girdled tree. In windy areas that experience heavy rains, you can pretty much count on taking the tubes off and putting them back on while re-staking in a different hole a few times a year. There are plenty of issues with tubes, but when push comes to shove…they are better than nothing.


#12

You have had much more trouble than I have. The difference may be regional or pertain to the species you are protecting. I’ve only used them for apples and grapes. I would never remove them during winter- we need protection from deer then more than ever- and I found you can check the condition of things just by peering down. Mice are an issue with apples regardless and often need to be baited or trapped out with young trees.


#13

I don’t remove them in winter. I remove them in fall to take the leaves out, then they go back on. I didn’t make that clear previously. Mice/voles have never been an issue for me when using aluminum window screen on fruit tree trunks. I find using 36" aluminum screen and 5’ woven or welded wire cages to be far superior to tree tubes. That said, when a person is dealing with dozens (or more) of trees at a time, tree tubes fill a niche.


#14

Oh No — Now I’m going to be having Ron Popeil Showtime Rotisserie infomercial flashbacks for the rest of the day.


#15

I had problems with powdery mildew and wooly apple aphid under the tubes. I have thought about putting them on my young bush cherries, my last batch got munched to death by deer. So far I have been doing OK with spray repellants on them.


#16

I’m with smsmith on this one. Window screen and 5 foot concrete fencing. My tree tubes turned into mice motels in the winter. :frowning:


#17

I stated previously on this thread that I had never had mice/vole problems when using tree tubes.

Sadly…I can no longer say that. I was walking one of my orchards today and I took a peak inside a tube. The bottom of the tube was full of gathered nesting material, and little rodents :grimacing: It looks like I’ll lose a couple young trees due to girdling inside the tubes (those trees had been painted with a latex/joint compound/water mix, apparently insufficient protection for chewing). I had a number of other tubes that also had nests at least beginning to be built, but those trees hadn’t been chewed on yet. I pulled the tubes and put aluminum window screen on instead. I knew I should have gotten that done this fall. Lesson learned. I’m done with tree tubes on fruit trees.


#18

I’m still loving them. Even if I do wind up having some tube related fatalities I’ll still use them just because they’re so easy to use and reuse. But I’ll definitely be going for another check now. Maybe it’s snow related… we don’t get much down here.


#19

I’m with Bede- they can be a useful tool if used thoughtfully. I only used them for one project, however, but if I was planting trees on a large scale without any plans for transplanting them I could make use of them again.

That said, I’d like to see some research that proves they actually do accelerate growth over a much wider ring of galvanized fencing when you are trying to get trees above the browse line. I always prefer metal to plastic, these days.

Obviously, the 4’ length won’t actually do the trick by itself. Once the tree pops out of the plastic its most nutritious part is presented like an appetizer on a tray at a deer party.


#20

I’d imagine that people who have had success with tubes and no major issues would continue to use them (me until yesterday). Once a major issue occurs (I hate losing 1-3 year old trees, they are only getting started) let me know if you continue to use them. :wink:

FTR…I have used a number of tube types for 15-20 years. If I were still planting oaks, chestnuts, and other hardwood trees I would likely continue to use tubes on those varieties (assuming they were seed raised and not grafted anyway). Apples and pears? Nope. To each their own

As far as snow goes…we have almost none here. We did have snow earlier, but a few warm, sunny days took care of that. There’s still a bit on north facing slopes, but that’s about it. My guess is that a huge acorn crop this year has led to an increase in vole and mouse numbers.