When you think about it, Q-tips are a very strange product. The box says don’t use them in the ear canal. Your doctor will tell you not to use them in the ear canal. And what does everyone do with them? Swab their ear canals. The whole entire market for the product is based on its rampant mis-use!
If you want a tree to grow and thrive, you don’t plant it in the shade. Yes, trees will tolerate shade (some species more than others), and they will perhaps survive in the shade, but they will not actually grow in the shade. And eventually, if they go too many years without growing in the shade, they will die in the shade.
Trees basically have two states: Growing and dying. If it ain’t growin’, it’s dyin’. It might be dying slowly, but it’s dying.
I sometimes get asked if our tree tubes work in the shade. I always answer that if there’s not enough sun for a tree to thrive in our tree tubes, then you shouldn’t be planting a tree there in the first place (or you should clear the surrounding vegetation more aggressively).
… Which begs the question, why do some companies sell tree tubes for use in the shade or “partial sun?” Why sell a product that encourages folks to do something that has little to no chance for success?
Is there a shade threshold at which a tree gets enough sunlight to grow without a tree tube, but then adding a tree tube reduces sunlight to the point where it doesn’t grow? Theoretically, yes. Practically speaking, no. How on earth would you ever determine such a thing? And why would you plant trees under conditions so close to the borderline between success and failure? And shade percentage isn’t static; the surrounding vegetation casting the shade grows and creates more & deeper shade over time. Or, the surrounding vegetation is removed to release the seedlings, in which case a seedling in a partial sun tube is now exposed to full sun.
Giving your trees a chance for success starts with making sure they get enough sun. If they are getting enough sun to grow, they will grow even faster in our Tree Tubes. And if they aren’t getting enough sun to thrive in standard tree tubes, you should not be planting there in the first place.
It’s pretty straightforward. Then again, I’m one of those guys who defies the label instructions on the box of Q-tips.