One of the most frequently asked questions about tree tubes is: “When should I remove them?”
One of the most common mistakes tree tube users (including some university researchers over the years) have made is: Removing the treeshelters too soon. Several people have written that tree tubes work great, but when you remove them the tree is too thin to stand on its own. That means they are removing the tree tube too soon! Remember, a tree tube has two jobs: Protect the tree until it grows up past the deer browse line, and then support the tree until it is firmly established. Removing treeshelters too soon allows them to do only half of their full function.
The second most common mistake? Not removing the tree tubes at all, thinking they will break down and disappear in time.
RULE OF THUMB #1: Your tree tubes will need to be removed. Yes they are photo degradable and will eventually break down in sunlight. But that won’t happen for 10 to 15 years in most cases (but if tree tube manufacturers leave out the UV inhibitors that increase durability the tree tubes won’t last long enough to get the job done). It’s best for the health of your trees and for the aesthetics of your site to remove and properly dispose of your tree tubes.
RULE OF THUMB #2: You should remove your tree tubes when the trees inside are approximately 3 inches in caliper (diameter) at the base, before they start to push out against the walls of the tree tubes.
Our Tubex Combitube Tree Tube is made with a laser-line perforation so that if you forget to remove the tubes in time, or if the trees are growing faster than you expected (and they will grow faster than you expected!), the tree tubes will split open and expand rather than constrict the growth of your trees. This is especially helpful for large scale and back country plantings that don’t get visited very often.
However even with this great laser line feature it’s still a good idea to remove and dispose of your tree tubes when the trees reach 3 inches in diameter at the base.
If you have any questions about our tree tubes – or any tree tubes on the market – please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have a wealth of experience we can share to make your project as easy and successful as possible!