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Tree shelters augur success for tree planting initiatives

28 March 2022

Tubex urges tree planting initiatives to consider tree shelters for success

As major tree planting projects continue to be announced across the UK, tree and plant protection specialist Tubex is urging organisations to ensure they budget for tree shelters to protect their investment.

Tree planting is rightly seen as an effective means of tackling climate change and the England Trees Action Plan – announced by the UK Government in 2021 – is encouraging widespread planting nationwide.  Several major initiatives have already been announced in 2022, including a project at Blenheim Palace to grow 270,000 trees and the planting of 12,800 saplings by Gloucester City Council.

Research has shown that tree shelters increase plant survival by at least 25 percent*, offering protection from browsing animals as well as promoting faster growth and establishment.  Data collected from Tubex customers suggest that tree shelters saved approximately 12.5 million saplings in the UK in 2020 – the equivalent of 14,600 football pitches.

The risk of tree losses during the first five years can range from 50% to over 80%, whereas Tubex has seen its tree shelters consistently achieve survival rates over 90%.

Given the proliferation of high-profile tree planting schemes, the use of shelters, where appropriate, can be of great benefit to maximise growth and survival rates.  Yet, as many tree shelters are plastic, some schemes are reluctant to use them, fearing it will compromise the sustainability credentials of a project.

According to Tubex, the truth is more nuanced.  The decision makers behind tree planting schemes should see the wider sustainability benefits of tree shelters.

“By definition, a tree shelter is a sustainable solution because it protects saplings and increases their chances of long-term growth,” commented James Taylor, Marketing & Product Development Director at Tubex.

“What’s more, while it may sound counter-intuitive, plastic can be part of an environmental solution, and Tubex is working at pace to offer a range of sustainable tree shelter solutions.”

As Tubex is now demonstrating with its Collection and Recycling Programme, plastic tree shelters can be easily recycled and used to make new shelters.  This means, once the loop is closed, tree shelters can contribute to the move towards a circular economy.

This is backed by independent data. A recent LCA study* conducted in the UK showed that the most sustainable choice of tree shelters is one that is manufactured from plastic containing recycled material and recycled at its end-of-life.

“Our core range of tree shelters is the only in the market already manufactured from up to 35% recycled content, and our Collection and Recycling scheme offers an easy solution for foresters to ensure a responsible disposal of used tree shelters and maximise their potential,” added James Taylor.

Tubex’s Collection and Recycling Scheme collected more than 150,000 used shelters during 2021, representing 21,000 kilograms of plastics which will be recycled into new tree shelters.

Where a biodegradable tree shelter is preferred, Tubex now offers this option under its new Tubex Nature range.  With extensive testing on its components and the finished tube to certify its biodegradability, Tubex Nature will over time start to degrade and breakdown into water and CO2 through a microbiological process.