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Disappearing Tree Tubes
"They have a `greenhouse effect' on seedlings that can increase height as much as 5 tithes over normal and boost survival rates to 100% even under poor conditions," says Graham Hurlstone, of Tubex Limited, manufacturer of new "disappearing" tree tubes that provide protection to seedlings for early growth and then biodegrade after 5 to 7 years.
The tubes are made from a double layer of UV-sensitive corrugated plastic that looks like cardboard. They come in sizes 3.2, 3.6 and 4.4 in. in dia. in varying lengths. They're shoved into the ground ,about 1 in. and a stake is positioned in an indentation on one side and strapped to the tube with plastic straps.
Deere and rabbits can't get at the trees once they're "tubed" and weed control is easier. In addition, Hurlstone says the see-through tubes provide a warmer environment, increase the level of CO2, and trap moisture. "They create a controlled mini-environment that stimulates growth," says Hurlstone.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has already used several thou-sand tree tubes, ordering direct from England. "We've improved survival rates of hardwoods from 30% to nearly 100%. and they also greatly stimulate growth," says Al Kubiske, DNR forester. "They give the tree a longer growing period each day by trap-ping warmth and moisture as well as CO2. We're generally very satisfied. The biggest drawback is expense. They cost about $ 1.45 apiece, including shipping."
(Kubiske says the Wisconsin DNR may be able to make tubes available to farmers even in other states. He suggests that they have their local forestry or wildlife officers get in touch with him. Contact Al Kubiske, DNR Bureau of Forestry, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, Wis. 53707)
Tree tubes vary in height from 18 in. to 5 ft. and vary in price from 50 cents to $1.50.
For more information, contact FARM SHOW Followup, Tubex Ltd., Tannery House, Tannery Lane, Send, Woking, Surrey GU23 7HB England (ph 0483 225434).

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1988 - Volume #12, Issue #5