Emails like this one from a customer in northern Illinois are especially gratifying for me:
The forester who prepared my forestry improvement plan strongly recommended use of cages over tree tubes, but I am really glad I did not follow his advice. My success with tree tubes has
been much better, and the cost per tree is much lower.
There are foresters out there who still recommend the use of wire cages as compared to tree tubes. I find this amazing, given the high cost of wire cages, the hassle involved in making and installing them and the fact that, while they do provide deer browse protection, they do not protect from rodents, herbicide spray or drought. In other words you can put wire cages around every single tree and still loose all your trees during a hot, dry summer, or population spike of voles. And, in order to weed control you still have to somehow protect your seedlings from the spray.
If you are planting 4 to 6ft or taller fruit trees, wire cages are a definite option. For seedlings, no way. Tree tubes are the way to go.
When I started in this business in 1989 foresters were the gatekeepers between tree tube companies and tree planters. The internet has created a direct connection between tree tube guys like me and growers like you, allowing a rapid and direct exchange of information and ideas. Private landowners are achieving astounding results, far better than most planting on public land. Tree planting has experienced a sea change in the last 25 years, from planting a gazillion cheap bare root trees per acre and hoping/praying that some of them live, to planting a smaller number of very high quality seedlings and making sure they make it.
Keep the emails coming!