This morning I got a voice mail from a gentleman in Virginia asking about 25 tree tubes. I have been doing this so long (22 years!) that before I call someone back I make some assumptions about what they might be planting and why they might need tree tubes. Well, we all know what happens when we make assumptions… but I’m usually right 😉
But not always. In this case I was right about the trees: Oaks. Right about the management goals: Hard mast production for wildlife habitat.
But I was wrong about the reason he needed the tubes. I was, of course, thinking deer browse. Turns out this customer hasn’t had too many trees live long enough for deer browse to even become a problem. His bigger, more immediate issues: Seedling trees getting overwhelmed with weeds, and drought.
The field where he’s planting is an old soybean field – fertile, but full of weed and grass seed that quickly over tops the oaks he has planted. His two biggest reasons for using tree tubes: The simply joy of being able to find his trees a few months from now, amidst the tangle of grass and brush, and the ability to spray RoundUp around his trees without damaging them (with Wilson Forestry Supply’s vented Tubex Tree Tubes the lower 14 inches of the tubes are solid and provide complete spray protection).
A secondary reason is drought protection. His area of Virginia has experience several dry summers in a row, taking a toll on seedling survival. Tree tubes dramatically reduce moisture stress on seedling trees, by shielding them from drying winds and capturing, condensing and recycling moisture that they transpire. Even in seasons of severe drought seedling survival rates in tree tubes are extremely high.
Well, this customer’s tubes are on the way. I can guarantee he is going to have the most enjoyable, successful summer of growing trees he’s ever had!