Tree Tube stakes: Warping wood or flexing PVC?

Just got off the phone with a customer in Iowa who has planted 20,000 trees over the past 12 years.  I’m constantly in awe of the dedication of landowners who work so hard to enhance their property.

We got to talking about tree tube stakes.  A couple of years ago he bought wooden tree tube stakes from a local forester for use with his tree tubes (more about those tree tubes below).  After just two years those wooden stakes are, in his words, “warping, bowing and breaking,” causing him to spend hours straightening and replacing them.

He’s really excited to switch to PVC tree tube stakes – which look exactly like the 1/2″ gray schedule 40 conduit you can buy at Home Depot, etc.  That’s because they ARE the 1/2″ gray schedule 40 conduit you can buy at Home Depot!

In 23 years of working with tree tubes I have tried everything:  wood, bamboo, rebar, t-post, fiberglass rod, fiberglass profile.  PVC stakes are far and away the best stake you can use.  They also happen to be the cheapest!  How often in life can you say that the best material for a job is also the cheapest and most readily available?

At the end of the day I don’t care if you get your PVC stakes from me or your local hardware store, as long as you get them!


On the tree tubes:  This gentlemen used a vented tree tube that requires a 6ft stake for 5ft tubes; the tubes are not rigid enough to support themselves and need the stake (after driving it one foot deep in the soil) to support the tube all the way to the top.  These tubes are also prone to buckling in the center when large birds perch on top of them.

Tubex Combitube Tree Tubes are rigid.  You can use a 5ft stake for a 5ft tube, because the tube can extend above the top of the driven stake and support itself.  This is a HUGE savings:  It means that you can buy 10ft PVC sections and cut them in half to produce two 5ft stakes!

I was recently asked why other companies don’t offer PVC stakes.  There are four answers:

1) They lack the facilities and staff to cut 10 or 20ft PVC pipes to size.  We do this on a large scale every day.

2) They don’t want you to know that you could also just go get the best tree tube stakes at your local Home Depot and cut them yourself (again, I’m in the business of selling the best tree tubes on the market; we offer PVC stakes as a convenience to our customers, but are just as happy if customers buy their own stakes locally)

3) As 5ft tubes become a higher percentage of the market, companies selling 5ft tubes that require 6ft stakes are in a pickle; they can’t just cut 10ft PVC pipes in half.  (They could cut them into two sections of 6ft and 4ft, but of course their 4ft tubes require 5ft stakes)  They would end up with too many unsalable 4ft pieces

4) They want stakes to be a profit center, in the same way that fast food restaurants make all their money on soda and fries.  Again, Wilson Forestry Supply is in the business of selling the best tree tubes at the best price.  We are not in the stake business.  We provide stakes as a convenience.

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