I absolutely LOVE pvc stakes for tree tubes. More specifically 1/2″ schedule 40 PVC electrical conduit:
I used to field dozens of calls per year about stake failure. Now I don’t get any. PVC stakes flex but don’t break, don’t rot, and allow a swaying/shaking motion that encourages the tree to grow a thicker trunk as it grows up through the tube.
However, here are some things to keep in mind when considering or buying PVC stakes:
1) For rocky soils or sites with highly compacted soils (such as sites which have been grazed by livestock) PVC stakes are not a good choice. Even with a driving collar they might not have the rigidity necessary to penetrate these soils.
2) In bottom land soils prone to flooding and which remain damp much of the year, PVC stakes are great, but use a stake that is 1ft longer than your tree tubes, so you can drive it more deeply into the soil. (One of the beauties of our tree tubes is that, under normal circumstances, you can use a stake that’s the same height as the tree tube – which saves A LOT of money as compared to flimsier tree tubes which require to use a stake that is longer than the tube and need the stake – rather than the tube itself – to do the “heavy lifting” of supporting the tree.)
It’s so much fun selling tree tubes in 2013 as opposed to 1989 when I started!! I have the best business partners anyone could ask for. I have a product that has been greatly improved by Yankee ingenuity and is yielding amazing results in the field. I have instant access to customers for feedback – and photos – from the field (every day I “visit” plantings from California to Florida to New Hampshire without leaving my desk). And through the web site I have the ability to instantly update my recommendations and guidelines to incorporate the hard-won wisdom of thousands of tree planters across the country.
What could be better than that!