Tree Tube Results

As the 2013 growing season winds up a lot of tree planters are out in the field doing some autumn weed control and taking stock of the year’s results… which is great for me because I get a lot of updates from customers with great news about how well their trees are doing in tree tubes.  I received this email over the weekend from a customer in Mississippi:

Hi Chris,

Scouted all of my trees today, here’s what I came up with:

400 trees planted

174 grown out of/above the tree tube
About 44%

37 died for various reasons, will re-plant this winter
91% survival rate

I’m pretty impressed!  Here’s some pics for you, the stick standing by the trees is 6′ tall.

Pretty good!  For me getting photographs and data from customers is like Christmas coming early.  I mostly grow trees vicariously through my customers, and feel a part of every success story – even after thousands of similar success stories.  Here are some of the photos this customer sent.  Click the photos to enlarge.

hybrid oak seedling grown in tree tube

Tree Tube on hybrid oak at the end of one growing season (seedling was about 18″ tall at planting).

hybrid oaks grown in tree tubes

Tree Tube on another hybrid oak – end of first growing season.

Sawtooth oak grown in tree tube

Sawtooth oak in Tree Tube – end of first growing season.

You get the idea!  Some of these trees have significant crown growth above the tube, which bodes well for continued rapid growth next year and – more importantly – early production of acorns and other mast crops.

For me the most exciting and gratifying aspect of the photos I get from the field is that, almost universally, tree planters are doing things right.  I see the use of high quality planting stock, I see good planting practices, I see aggressive weed control, and I see the tubes properly installed and maintained.  Twenty-four years ago when I started with tree tubes that wasn’t the case (and as a forester I’m embarrassed to say that it was mostly foresters who were responsible for the mis-use of tree tubes – viewing them as a substitute for weed control and as a panacea to make up for a multitude of tree planting sins).  I find it funny/sad/ironic that it has been the private landowner planting trees for wildlife habitat who are really out there doing things right and achieving the best results.  My suspicion is that many of these folks come from agricultural backgrounds and innately understand the importance of site preparation and weed control.

It’s also great to see the widespread use of 1/2″ schedule 40 pvc electrical conduit as tree tube stakes.  I used to field dozens of calls per year about failed wooden stakes.  In the 4 years I have been selling and recommending pvc stakes I have not received a single complaint or heard of a single problem.

Keep the photos and data coming!!


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