There are many unpredictable and harmful elements a tree can face depending on its location. Fruit trees, in particular, are vulnerable to these since not only will they need to withstand weather conditions; but they are also more susceptible to pests and animal damage. For this reason, we need to build something that can protect fruit trees. So, what tree guards can we use to protect them? We have researched answers to find out.
Here are 7 tree guards that are effective at shielding your fruit tree's trunk:
- Plastic Sleeve Guard
- Mesh Guard
- Recycled Milk Carton
- Green Guard
- Burlap Sleeve
- Paper Wrap
- Metal Guard
Fruit trees give out edible food we can eat, so it's important that we know how to protect them. It would be a waste to let the unpredictable weather break them, or let animals and pests have their way at them. Keep reading below to learn more about how to protect your fruit trees so you can benefit from them for a long time.
7 Types Of Tree Guards For Fruit Trees
Regardless of how well you try to maintain a fruit tree, it will still need a tree guard to ensure its survival. Tree guards can be applied to a fruit tree as early as the development stage so it can be protected from harsh weather and pests which can derail or stop its growth.
Tree guards are especially important if you live in an area that has an unpredictable weather pattern. You won't know what to expect, so it's best to build a protective barrier around a growing tree as soon as possible.
Even if you live in a calm climate, you won't be able to control when pests such as rodents will munch on the tree and eventually destroy it. Having a tree guard will give you peace of mind that it at least has a layer of protection against pests.
Here are tree guards that can be effective at protecting your fruit trees.
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Plastic Sleeve Guard
Plastic sleeve guards are one of the most accessible and commonly-used tree guards. Not only will it protect your fruit tree from unpredictable weather patterns, but they also shield the tree against pests and animals that may damage the tree.
The plastic guard will also retain the moisture and increase the humidity around the tree trunk and the roots, preventing the tree from drying out spontaneously. Aside from that, the plastic blocks out excessive UV rays which trees can be sensitive to at times.
Check out this plastic tree guard on Amazon
Mesh guards are suited for broad-leaved plants and trees. They protect the trees from large grazing animals and pests. Mesh guards are economical and durable, so you won't have to replace them often.
Aside from protecting against all types of animals, mesh guards allow trees and plants to have more wiggle room in their growth.
Mesh guards are also ideal in places with strong winds since they can effectively sturdy up a developing tree.
Check out this mesh tree guard on Amazon
Recycled Milk Carton
If you want something more eco-friendly to guard your fruit trees with, utilize empty milk boxes and turn them into tree guards. However, milk cartons can be fragile and susceptible to moisture.
They will of course start to disintegrate when it's exposed to rainwater, so you may need to change it more frequently so the tree can be protected against pests.
Milk cartons can at least protect the tree from strong winds especially if you stake them against the ground.
Green guards are an effective guard for fruit trees, but it's also ideal for vines. They protect plant life against herbicides, large animals, and pests.
Aside from pests, green guards can also protect the trunk from UV rays. It will also increase the humidity around the root, preventing it from drying out. The rigid plastic will keep the plant thriving, shielding it against harmful elements.
Green guards only need one stake to stand, forming a triangular shield around the root and tree trunk. They are guaranteed to be durable and last a long time because of their rigid form that can withstand extreme climate conditions.
Burlap is an accessible material you can use for your tree. It can shield the trunk from cold weather and keep it warm. as well as pests and rodents which can damage the tree. Pests will usually be irritated by the material of burlap, causing them to be repelled.
However, note that burlap sleeves won't be able to protect the tree from harsh winters. It also won't be able to keep the tree sturdy during strong winds and torrential rains.
You can secure the burlap around the tree using a thin rope. Allow some wiggle room; make sure not to tie the rope too tight to avoid constricting it.
An alternative to burlap is a paper wrap, which contains a chemical that can safely repel pests away from the tree, protecting it from damage. It can provide warmth to a tree during cold weather, although it won't be able to protect the tree from an extremely harsh winter.
Paper wrap will also not be able to protect the tree from strong winds, and it won't be able to provide UV protection. If you want a more sturdy protective layer, go for a plastic or green wrap.
Check out this paper tree wrap on Amazon
Metal tree guards are a more visually appealing option for tree guards. They can come in many designs, so you have a lot to choose from that can match your preference. However, it is best to get a functional design that can protect the tree from pests and rodents.
Metal guards may also be prone to rust, so make sure to maintain them well by cleaning them regularly, repainting them, and immediately eliminating rust spots when you spot them.
As much as possible, avoid getting metal guards in black since dark colors absorb heat better. If the metals absorb heat, they will transfer to the tree bark which can damage it. Get light-colored metal guards to avoid such issues.
Read: 13 Colorful Shrubs That Grow In Shade
How Tall Should Tree Guards Be?
The ideal height for a tree guard is one that can protect it from wildlife, pests, and strong winds, but it should also not be a tripping hazard. It could be at least 18-22 inches tall. It should also not block the rain from seeping into the roots.
How Long Should You Keep Tree Guards On?
It is not recommended to keep a fruit tree within a tree guard once it has matured. Tree guards provide protection, but they should not stunt the growth of the three--which will be the case if you keep the tree guard attached.
You can keep the guard for up to 5 years, but you can immediately remove it once the sapling splits.
If you're using a tree wrap, make sure to remove the wrap once the weather has started to warm up. You don't want to suffocate the tree or have the trunk exposed to bacteria.
Protecting a developing tree is important to make sure nothing stunts or prevents its growth. Make sure to observe when it's time to remove the tree guards and see to it that you lift the tree guards to clean some dirt and debris.