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Protect against deer browse or damage from other animals - Deer
are without a doubt, the number one threat to nearly all wild-land, and
today, many urban tree plantings. White-tailed deer, with an average
height of 36-40 inches at the shoulder plus its neck length, can easily
browse any unprotected tree below about 4½ ft. tall.
Trying to protect a
seedling in a grow tube (or tree-shelter or tree tube) below a height of 4½ ft. in deer country is, to put it bluntly, a waste of time and money. Tubes less than 4½ ft. inches tall expose the emerging tree top right at, or close to the feeding level for
all north american deer. Once deer munch the tree top of an unprotected
tree or one emerging from a shorter tube the tree's natural form is
irreparably harmed. The tree usually responds by robbing its root system
to replace lost growth in an often futile effort to grow past the deer.
The before and after images below show what happens to unprotected
seedlings and those in tree grow tube shelters less than 4.5ft tall when
it's dinner time for deer. When planting in deer country, choose the Buck Shield™ 71-in. or Doe Shield™ 58-in. grow tube to get the job done the first time, every time!
Step 2 - Match the SunFlex System height to your planting stock's mature size and desired stem form.
Determine the minimum branching height - Deer
are the primary reason Buck Shield 71-inch and Doe Shield 58-inch grow tubes are necessary to protect
young broadleaf (deciduous) trees. But these taller grow tubes have the added
benefits of promoting taller and straighter stems and brach-free trunks
below the height of the tube. This is important for both wild land and
urban jungle plantings. Low branches are magnets for deer to browse on
and raccoons to climb on to get higher into the tree. In urban plantings
these same low branches can easily be damaged by landscape equipment or
even by children climbing on young trees not strong enough to support
good rule of thumb is; the taller the grow tube the better the tree
form. The exception to this rule involves dwarf trees that may not grow
beyond 6ft or so. Dwarf variety fruit and nut trees have lower branch
scaffold heights and require shorter grow tubes to allow lower side
branching. Consult with your nursery about how tall your trees will grow
to make the best choice for grow tube height. The guidelines below are good yardsticks for choosing the best SunFlex grow tube height for your planting project:
Dwarf varieties may require lower branching. Choose the SunFlex System
to match the height you want the lowest branches to form (often referred
to as the lowest branch scaffold).