Major tree planting projects have a better chance of success with the use of tree shelters, says tree and plant protection specialist and Berry Global company. Tree planting is rightly seen as an effective means of tackling climate change and the number of tree-planting projects in the UK is rising steadily, encouraged by the England Trees Action Plan 2021 to 2024 sets out the government’s long-term vision for the treescape it wants to see in England by 2050 and beyond.
Several major initiatives have already been announced in 2022, including a project at Blenheim Palace to grow 270,000 trees.
Tubex’s shelters provide an improved micro-climate for growth, assisting with the establishment of stronger roots and leading to higher survival rates, as well as offering protection from browsing animals. While research has shown that tree shelters increase plant survival by at least 25 percent, the fact these are made from plastic has caused some projects to hesitate to implement them.
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% - an effect which should also be taken into account when weighing the sustainability of their use.
“By definition, a tree shelter is a sustainable solution because it protects saplings and increases their chances of long-term growth,” explained 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.”
The shelters produced by Tubex can be easily collected and recycled into new shelters, closing the loop and contributing to a more circular economy. The company has launched a Collection and Recycling Programme, which saw the collection of more than 150,000 used shelters during 2021, representing 21,000 kilograms of plastics which will be recycled into new tree shelters.
The scheme is a relatively straightforward one: participants order and are issued with dedicated sacks for the collection of the tree shelters. The used shelters are placed in the sacks and returned to the Tubex distributor’s store. Once a full lorry of sacks has been collected, Tubex arranges for the sacks to be picked up and transported to the recycling plant, where they are washed, cleaned and recycled into PP pellets. The pellets are re-used in Tubex products or in other Berry products.According to Tubex, the tree shelters are high grade recyclate and even after 8-10 years in can nearly all be recycled into rPP polymer.
Tubex’ standard tree shelters already contain up to 30% of recycled polymer and the Tubex netting up to 85%. Once enough rPP is available, the company will manufacture its products with 100% recycled content.
For those seeking alternatives to recyclable shelters, Tubex also produces what it calls its Tubex Nature range. Designed for areas where collection after use is difficult or sometimes impossible, such as areas with dense woodland or difficult access, this product is produced from bio-based materials that are certified as biodegradable.