A tree trunk protector is often essential for new plants and even more so when the new plants are placed outside the property and away from the protection of fences.
When I lived in a very rural area I took the following photos. It shows the efforts land owners went to trying to plants trees native to the district. It was a massive program and many farmers took part.
It was visually striking to turn a corner and see thousands of these plastic frames gleaming in the sun.
Again, I have to say most of these plantings were unsuccessful.
It is such a tragedy to see an enormous amount of effort and expense wasted. I am sure it is disheartening for the farmers and I can understand them giving up.
There were successes though and when a plant did get a chance to live it certainly grabbed it with all its roots.
The tree trunk protector chosen for this massive replanting was thin semi clear plastic and two wooden stakes as you can see in the photo here.
The temperature ranges from C45 to -4 degrees (113 to 24F) and these were planted in the spring. It was during a record breaking drought and I honestly suspect these plants didn’t stand a chance.
They would have baked inside the plastic frames and as there was little water available they would never have received supplementary water at any stage.
It was doomed from the start and I do wonder why they didn’t plant just the amount they could sustainably support as I believe more would have survived that way.
This young plant has died inside the plastic plant guard. The sides have collapsed and not allowed enough air inside. Also, the seedling has not been strong enough to push its way through the weight of the plastic, especially against the wind.
It’s obvious that no one was monitoring the condition of the plants, they were just placed in the ground and left to live or die without any help at all. What a shame.
This plant is thriving in its plastic tree protector. It has been able to get enough rain, sun and protection from wind, frost and predators to enable it to grow strong, straight and dense.
A few of these were chocked with weeds inside the tree guards, the young plants had died as a result. Again, this shows evidence that there was no after care plan in place to prevent such massive losses.
These two plants were planted at the same time, both could have survived if they had been checked every few weeks.
The plastic tree protector shown here is a favourite in Australia, as is very easy to make yourself. Once the bark has become stronger and more resilient to the elements I always use one.
But I do caution here, if you are not able or prepared to monitor and support the new plants then you are wasting your time, effort and money. They will need a helping hand just until they grow large enough to have the plastic removed.
You may then decide to use stakes to support them if need be. But please remember the job isn’t over just by planting, they do need your ongoing support for a while. They will certainly reward you if you do.