Tree Tube Lessons – A tree rises from the grave
sawtooth oak in tubex tree tube

Sawtooth Oak having grown 54″ in 30 days in Tubex Tree Tube

I was out yesterday checking my dove field and while walking the field edge I was also checking on a line of trees that are in tree tubes that I performed some spring maintenance on May 26th, 2013.  All the trees were doing great and were covered with bright green new flushes of growth, but there was one Sawtooth oak that stood out among the others.  The tree had grown 54″ in a month!  Now this was not a brand new bare root seedling that was planted this past winter, but it is a 3 year old tree that the old wooden test stake had broken and it was ignored for almost a year laying flat on the ground in the tube.

Pruned Sawtooth Oak in Tubex Tree Tube

3 Year old Sawtooth Oak pruned to allow regrowth

I pruned the tree back to a small bud sprout towards the base of the tree and re-installed the 4 ft Tubex Combitube tree tube.  A month later and it has rocketed out of the tube and has already re-established itself as a tree again.  This demonstrates a few things:

1.  Don’t use “these will work fine” kind of stakes.  Use good solid white oak stakes or even better our 1/2″ pvc stakes that won’t rot or break.  Choosing the wrong stake material can ruin your planting project no matter how much time and care you take in planting your tree and installing a tree tube.  If you can’t get by to maintain your trees at least 2 times a year then you run the risk of losing your tree due to stake failure.

2.  You need to come by and check on your trees at least twice a year.  Just before spring and late fall are great times to check in on your trees if you can’t make it by any other time.  In the late winter/early spring you can prune your trees from any sprouting or lateral limb growth in the tube that is not desired and in the fall you can access your stakes to make sure they will hold up to the winter months and clean out any leaves, bugs, etc that accumulated during the summer in the tree tube.

3.  Don’t ever count a tree out.  Instead of deciding this tree wouldn’t make it because 90% of it had died back and was lying flat on the ground and partly covered in fire ants, I yanked off the tube, pruned it back to an appropriate place on the stem and re-tubed the tree.  Even though it looked like a crashed up junk yard of a tree above ground, it had a 3 year old Ferrari engine below ground that was waiting to be unleashed. By pruning the tree and standing it back up right, I gave the tree the go ahead to put the pedal to the medal and go as fast as it wants too.

4.  You will notice the lack of vegetation around this tree.  As I mentioned earlier, I ignored this tree for almost an entire year but I had sprayed glyphosate around all these trees 2 and 3 years ago which has kept all competing vegetation away from the trees.  You can even see in the upper picture the sprayed circles around each tree.  If I had not done this, this tree very well could have perished as the grasses and weeds would have smelled the blood in the water and swamped the tree robbing it of nutrients and water which ultimately would have pushed it right over the edge.  Herbaceous weed control in paramount.

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