Many of my posts have been about how there has been a sea change in the acceptance of tree tubes over the past few years; how they are standard operating procedure for successful tree planting. One way this has become evident is in the number of high quality tree seedling nurseries that offer - and highly recommend - tree tubes to their customers.
That's a change from the past. When tree tubes were first introduced to the USA in the late 1980's nurseries were generally slow to embrace the technology. There were several reasons for this. One reason was that, for a nursery, offering treeshelters to its customers meant openly discussing the "elephant in the room" that everyone knew was there but no one want to discuss: The high level of deer browse, and the likelihood that the seedlings customers planted would get browsed off. It really wasn't a matter of nurseries thinking that deer browse would mean that customers would keep buying more trees to replace those that were eaten; all nurseries want their customers to be successful. It was more a matter of nurseries worrying that openly discussing the threat of deer browse and recommending tree tubes as the solution would 1) discourage people from planting trees in the first place, and 2) would drive the cost of tree planting past what people were willing to spend.
Fast forward to 2011 and many things have changed:
1) The population density - and therefore the severity of deer browse - has done nothing but get worse. The elephant in the room has become the blue whale in the room!
2) There is now a much more widespread understanding - on the part of foresters, county conservation districts, and private landowners - that simply planting trees and walking away is a recipe for failure. When you compare the cost of tree tubes to just planting trees, they seem like an expensive added cost. When you compare the cost of tree tubes to what you would have to do without them to have a successful project, then you realize that tree tubes actually save you money over the long haul.
3) Today's tree nurseries are producing planting stock that is light years better than the seedlings that were grown 20 years ago. New root pruning pots and other advancements mean that the seedlings you get from many of today's nurseries are supercharged for optimal growth. The nurseries have more invested in producing these great seedlings, and the thought of sending them out unprotected to the field to be exposed to the ravages of deer browse and doubt is unacceptable. And the customers who purchase them, wisely making the decision to spend a little more on top-notch planting stock with known superior genetics, also wisely make the decision to protect those seedlings with tree tubes.
Two of the very best nurseries producing seedlings for enhancing wildlife habitat have partnered with Wilson Forestry Supply to offer Tubex Combitube Tree Tubes: Mossy Oak's Nativ Nurseries of West Point, MS and The Wildlife Group of Tuskegee, AL.
The test of how strongly these great nurseries feel about our tree tubes? 1) When they plant trees on their own properties they never do so without our tree tubes. 2) The both tell their customers: If you have a certain budget for your project it's better to reduce the number of trees you plant and cover them with tree tubes. 3) Both will tell people in no uncertain terms: If you plant trees without tree tubes with today's deer densities and invasive weeds and grasses you are wasting your time (which means you are also wasting the blood, sweat and tears they put into raising those trees).
It's an exciting time. After years and years spent trying to convince folks to use tree tubes, that argument has been won. Now the only question is: Which tree tube? And when you're the US source of Tubex Combitube Treeshelters, you also feel very good about the answer to that question as well!