This is a genius idea of Rowan Reid’s for cheaply planting trees in sheep paddocks. It will also protect them from wallabies. You can plant cuttings of willow/poplar for example in situ and clearly you will have a pretty decent sized tree in twelve months time particularly if you start with a large cutting in autumn.
The idea is simply a plastic tube (which comes in a roll) supported by a length of ¾” PVC electrical conduit and a couple of cable ties. Apparently stapling the guard to a short stake on the opposite side (bottom) to the conduit will improve air flow and prevent fungal damage from high humidity. “I tried a number of options and have settled on and 2m length of 20mm electrical conduit cut from 4m lengths. These are flexible and durable enough to be used a number of times. I then use a 1.2m length of plastic tubing fed over the pole and fixed pole with 2 or 3 cable ties.” Because the guard is flexible sheep will not rub on it or stand on their hind legs to eat the tree which quickly grows out the top. Per tree this method initially costs only a couple of dollars – but the conduit can be used numerous times.
I am off tomorrow to get some evergreen willow cuttings to plant my first 100 trees with using this method. This time next year I will show you how well they went.
Below are our first couple of dozen planted yesterday afternoon. If you can get nice straight willow/poplar/plane tree cuttings approx 2 metres long and say 15- 25 mm at the base it will be easier. We ran a 2″ augur about 2′ into the soil and just shoved them in. Three cable ties, the holes cut with a single paper punch from Officeworks make the job the work of a minute for two of us. expec t to see several hundred more. the conduit costs A$3.95 from Bunnings for a 4 metre length but I see it elsewhere from as low as A$1.93 each! Happy planting!
Officeworks paper punch:
PS: I bought one from the local $2 store for $1!
PS2: You order the roll of plastic tubing here: http://agroforestry.net.au/products/display.asp A$135 (August 2108) for a 270 metre roll -enough for 180 trees, ie 75 cents per tree; probably about another 2 cents for three cable ties. Rowan now has extra tall poles (2.4-3.0 metres) for use with cows etc.
Tip from Rowan Reid:
I notice that by using the paper punch you’ve been tempted to put the holes along the crease in the sleeve. I have the problem of the sleeve closing flat when I did that – this reduces the air flow up the tube and can lead to the tree ‘cooking’ in the tube. It wont be an issue with your tall cuttings but could be with small seedlings, so I put the cable tie through the tubing away from the crease and it helps hold the tube open.