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Which tree guards should you use?

There is often a lot of time, money and effort dedicated to planting tubestock, with the hope they will quickly grow into strong, healthy trees. However, these young trees are prone to a variety of harsh elements that can result in premature death. These include the sun's harsh UV rays, herbicide spray drift, animal grazing, machinery damage, wind damage and accidental treading. The list simply goes on, and as a result, seedlings need a protective barrier to ensure they grow into strong and healthy trees. Tree guards are an easy solution and provide the necessary protection. They are highly effective at increasing the growth and survival rate of young trees. With several types of tree guards available at Forestry Tools, let's explore the benefits and limitations of three common options.

Milk Carton Style (fibreboard)

Milk carton style tree guards are our most cost-friendly option and are made in Australia from plain coated fibreboard material to maximise longevity. They have the major benefit of being biodegradable with the sun and rain breaking them down into the soil, reducing any on-site removal costs. Fibreboard tree guards provide basic protection to young seedlings and are ideal for large revegetation projects. The limitation to fibreboard tree guards is that they typically break down in six to twelve months and do not provide protection from grazing animals or harsh environments. However, they are tough lined cardboard guards with easy to install precut slots for bamboo stakes. We recommend using two bamboo stakes (600mm x 10/12mm) per fibreboard tree guard.

Plastic Sleeve Tree Guards
Our plastic sleeve tree guards are the most widely used option for tree protection and are made in Australia. They provide a greater level of protection against animal damage, spray drift and strong winds. A significant advantage of plastic sleeve tree guards is that they promote tree growth by creating a microenvironment that will reduce UV levels while increasing humidity and carbon dioxide levels for young trees. Plastic sleeve tree guards are a popular option because, unlike fireboard guards, they can be reused in the future for other seedlings and are more robust. However, installing plastic tree guards takes more time, and if the guard isn't installed correctly by ensuring enough tension, the guard can collapse. This will restrict the growth of the young saplings by depriving them of room and moisture. We recommend using three bamboo stakes (750mm x 12/14mm) per plastic sleeve tree guard.

Corflute Tree Guards (fluted)
Corflute tree guards are our premium option that provide the most outstanding long term protection to young trees from wind damage, spray drift and foraging animals. The most significant advantage of fluted tree guards is how fast and easy they are to install, saving time and labour costs for large tree planting projects. Simply pop open the flat guard into its triangular shape, slide your single stake into the precut slit and install it over the young tree. It's as easy as that! Corflute tree guards are considered an investment due to their long life span and durability, often being reused up to three times. They are excellent at protecting olive trees, vines and natives from harsh elements and grazing animals with their thick UV-stabilised rigid plastic. While corflute guards are considerably more expensive than fibreboard and plastic sleeve tree guards, they will provide a greater level of protection and can be reused in the future. Our corflute tree guards are made in Australia from polypropylene, making them 100% recyclable through the manufacturer. We recommend one hardwood stake (750x25x15mm) per fluted tree guard.

There are various options when it comes to protecting young trees in their early stages, each with its own pros and cons. Milk carton style tree guards are a great economical option but are limited in the level of protection they provide. Plastic sleeve tree guards are a popular option, however, installation can take longer in comparison. Corflute tree guards are our preferred choice as they provide the highest level of protection to young trees and can be reused numerous times in the future. Choosing tree guards can be tricky; therefore, it is important to consider your budget, how much protection you would like to provide the seedling, and whether you plan on reusing the guard in the future!