SunFlex Greenhouse Grow Tube
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 their weight.
A 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:
- Full-sized deciduous (broadleaf) trees = 71-in. or 58-in.
- Semi-dwarf deciduous trees = 71-in. or 58-in.
- Dwarf variety trees or scrub trees with low, bushy or shrub form canopies require a shorter tube height to allow branching at lower heights. These trees will need to be protected with additional caging around the entire perimeter of the branching zone because they to protect against lethal deer browse.
Note: 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).
SunFlex Grow Tubes "grow beyond" traditional tree tubes and treeshelters to deliver in the toughest conditions where animals and elements can kill your seedlings before they ever have a chance to get growing. Whether you're planting hardwood seedlings for wildlife habitat, riparian buffers, woody food plots, wind breaks or to make your backyard more wild, SunFlex helps your seedlings survive, thrive and succeed, the first time, every time. Choose a SunFlex grow tube option for your next planting and get growing!
Note: The only way to grow the best tree is to grow the whole tree and that includes the main stem and roots. Plantra's Trunk-Builder™ Stake is the only "purpose-built" grow tube support stake engineered with trunk-building flexibility and strength to grow bigger, healthy stems and roots. Trunk-Builder stakes are sold as part of the SunFlex Seedling System.
Superior plant growth is packed in every SunFlex™ "Grow" Tube and it all starts with superior sunlight management -
- SunFlex is designed for a wide range sunlight conditions which receive a minimum of 6 hours of uninterrupted sunlight per day during the growing season.
- Unlike traditional tree tubes and tree-shelters SunFlex Grow Tubes are twin-walled for light diffusion and translucent to growth-optimizing sunlight trees and shrubs need. SunFlex is packed with advanced greenhouse technology to stimulate phytochrome to grow the whole plant from roots to shoots – necessary to get your new seedlings off and running with the sun.
- In addition to providing superior greenhouse benefits the entire SunFlex series is engineered with Plantra's Cross-Flow™ venting to promote effective air movement throughout the grow tube. Cross-Flow increases CO2 replenishment, reduces excessive moisture buildup and encourages proper dormancy (hardening off) before winter, even in the coldest regions.
- SunFlex Grow Tubes provide a physical barrier to shelter seedlings against chewing and browsing wildlife that can destroy a planting season in a few bites. The 6ft grow tube provides the most effective browse and trunk protection against damage from small rodents to animals as large as deer and shorter heights are available for areas where deer are not present.
- Wind is a seedling killer and while wildlife gets it fair share of the blame for damage to new plantings, wind's invisible force rarely does. Built rugged and sturdy, SunFlex creates a greenhouse micro-climate that blocks wind which can dry out tender leaves. This reduces water stress on the leaves, stems and roots and allows the plant to channel its energy into faster sustainable growth instead of defending itself against desiccating winds.
- SunFlex helps you control weeds that steal soil nutrients, moisture, and sunlight from young seedlings by making it easy to see exactly where your seedlings are when using mowers and string trimmers. The solid lower section acts as a spray shield for weed sprays making weed control fast and safe (always follow chemical label directions when applying weed sprays).
- SunFlex ships flat, pops open to a large, leaf expanding 3.9 inch diameter, and installs quickly and easily with super-strong, releasable Plantra Twist-Lock™ soft wire ties (included).
- Large tie holes come standard on all SunFlex Grow Tubes to accommodate the widest range of staking options with the most secure being SunFlex Grow Tube System which incorporates our Trunk-Builder™ stake into the strongest stake and tube attachment system available. To purchase SunFlex as part of the SunFlex System CLICK HERE.
- SunFlex's cutting edge design and unmatched utility is where plant growth, field performance, and ease of use come together to create the most effective seedling establishment system available. Make SunFlex the choice for your next hardwood tree planting. In the seasons to come, you'll be glad you did.