Ask an Arborist: How do I use Arbor Day Foundation Tree Care Products?
By Christine Hutfles | September 5, 2018
Tree care products help protect your newly planted tree from outside forces like wildlife and can reduce tree care needs such as watering. However, these products are intended to aid with tree maintenance, not replace it. Leaving products on and forgetting about them can do more harm than good to your tree.
Ooze Tube and Treegator®
These systems simplify watering by allowing you to fill a 15-gallon bag that sits around the trunk of a tree. They’re great because they do a lot of the work for you. They also promote deep root growth, eliminate water runoff, and prevent transplant and drought shock.
Ooze tubes and Treegators work on a range of trees and shrubs and they’re easy to install. Simply take the bag, place it on the desired tree and fill it up with water.
Watering systems slowly release water over a 5-8-hour period and only need to be refilled once a week. They saturate the soil in areas that a watering can or hose or can’t reach. Similarly, ooze tubes also hold 15 gallons of water and come with an adjustable drip gauge that allows you to control the amount of water your tree or shrub receives. The 15-gallon reserve can last anywhere from 5 days to 4 weeks.
Although watering systems are useful in the spring and summer, remember to remove them in the winter. Leaving them on during the colder season — even if the bag is empty — can harm your tree.
Tubex Tree Shelter
This next product is a Tubex tree shelter. Tree shelters protect young trees from wildlife. These are great because they stop deer from damaging the trunk of young trees, and keep other wildlife from browsing fruit and nuts. They’re also useful in protecting trees from strong winds and maintenance equipment.
To install it, simply slide the tube over the seedling and hold the branches down if necessary. Push the shelter two to three inches into the ground by holding the top with both hands and twisting as you push down. If the soil is too firm, mound soil around the base of the shelter.
Although tree shelters provide 5-7 years of protection, you want to keep an eye on it. Periodically inspect the shelter to make sure it isn’t leaning and there aren’t any competing weeds around the outside of it. Weeds growing on the inside of the tree shelter compete with the tree for sun. If this is the case, remove the tube and any weeds around it, and then re-install the tube. Also check the tree for growth to make sure the tree shelter isn’t inhibiting any trunk growth or root girdling.
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