I received the message below from a friend looking for advice on protecting young hardwoods seedlings. A timely topic for spring!
Brett, I'm looking for advice on tree protectors. I'm looking at pro/gro solid tubes, which give a greenhouse effect. What I observed in the Adirondacks was solid with holes, 4' tall. The advice I received was to install the tubes upon planting. Your recommendations?
I recommend taking at look at our tree planting bulletin: http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/info/pubs/management/TreePlantingBu...
I agree with all that Brett stated above. I will amplify the value in weed control for several years after planting. Also, depending on snow depth and deer abundance a 5 ft tube is essential. The impacts of deer on planted seedlings can make the difference between success and failure. In one active planting trial, unprotected black locust was about 24 inches whereas protected black locust were 70 to 90 inches after two growing seasons (planted as 1-0) . Pictures below.
First picture is black locust, started as 1-0 at about 12 inches after two growing seasons. Note the rebar, 6.5' as stake.
The second picture illustrates band herbicide to control competing vegetation, with mowing between the rows. Herbicide was glyphosate at about 2% A.I. Spraying and herbicide twice to thrice per season.
Great advice from Brett & Pete. Also to double down on Brett's advice to seat the tree tubes well into the soil - this not only helps prevent the chimney effect, it also helps keep the voles (also know as meadow mice) off the trees. I've seen voles take out over 50% of trees when they were not protected by tubes.