I’m often asked to compare the different brands of tree tubes on the market. If you email me a question like, “What makes the Tubex Combitube PLUS Treeshelter better” you’ll probably get a small novel in reply. It’s the perfect example of the age old situation “Sorry this letter is so long, I didn’t have time to make it shorter.” Having written that (not so) small novel dozens of times in the past year, I’m finally getting to the point of making it shorter.
I judge tree tubes based on seven criteria:
1. Ventilation (more = better, smaller holes better than large holes, venting all the way to the top of the tube is superior)
2. Diameter (bigger = better, but only if the tube maintains a circular shape)
3. Twin walled (diffuses/scatters light for more photosynthesis)
4. Light transmission (More light is better, color is only very minor important – and might not be important at all)
5. Rigidity (Is made and shipped in its round shape, rather than being shipped as a flattened tube or flat sheet)
6. Durability (No creases or folds, no manufacturing imperfections)
7. Ease of installation (Pre-threaded ties, tubes come in circular shape ready to install)
8. Flared rim to prevent abrasion to the bark of emerging trees
Over the next few weeks I will be doing a blog post on each criterion. However, I am also working on a much simpler, more concise way to communicate this information: A matrix which scores each tree tube on the market for each criterion.
It is absolutely true that there is no perfect tree tube on the market. Limitations in manufacturing and transporting tubes, along with the pricing that the market will bear, force tree tube manufacturers to make trade offs.
But when you objectively score the tree tubes on the market today for each of these seven criteria, one product emerges as the clear leader: The Tubex Combitube Tree Tube from Wilson Forestry Supply.
But don’t take my word for it. After all, while I am a forester and I have been working with tree tubes for 22 years, I am a peddler of tree tubes. I am biased. After I flesh out each of these criteria in future blog posts you will have a matrix – basically a “scoresheet” – that you can use as you research various products on the market. I hope you will find it a valuable tool for getting the best value for your tree planting dollar.