Trees and Tree Tubes – A Money Saving Consideration

It seems these days that in our economic downturn, everybody is watching their money a little closer and finding more and more inventive ways of stretching that penny. I was told once that “if you watch your cents, then your dollars will take care of themselves.” The wildlife management budget can be hit hard and when the budget crunch comes, land managers and landowners have to plan on how to still provide optimum habitat for their wildlife with a 5 inch dollar bill. The role of perennial habitat plantings could not be more important than they are today.

A lot of people wanting to plant trees for their wildlife look at the big planting picture and become overwhelmed with the potential costs. The cost of tree tubes can jump off the excel sheet in a bright highlighted color and peoples’ dreams of their tree projects sink faster than a pair of sunglasses into a trout stream (cue the finger counting now). What people don’t look at is how these costs are fractional over the long term management plan versus the annual food plot costs.

Food plot costs will vary each year and even from warm season to cool seasons depending on seed costs, gas prices, fertilizer and lime prices, etc. For certain, the trending costs of tree shelters is on the downward trend and planting stock prices are certainly insignificant when compared to annual seed costs. Most generic annual deer mixes cost on average of $30 – $50 per 50 lbs. Most people I know distribute the seed in a broadcast fashion resulting in a need for approximately 20 – 25 lbs per acre. If you own your equipment, the yearly dirt dance reduces in cost, but factor in equipment wear and tear, gas, driving out to the site, your time involved, soil sample costs, seed costs, fertilizer and lime costs, herbicide costs and of course the gas station food bill, you can easily approach upwards of $250 per acre to establish your annual plantings.

Now turn you attention to the costs of planting a wildlife tree. I have spoken with people that plant anywhere from 25 trees a year to upwards of over a 1000 trees a year. Economies of scale do play a part in getting the most economical price in planting trees, but it’s not a deal breaker to phase in your tree planting projects as small as you wish. Take your tree tube costs, stake costs, and planting stock costs, transportation costs, and of course the gas station food bill and you can estimate an average cost of $5 per tree. 1 acre of annual plantings is the same as planting 50 trees protected by tree tubes. This also reduces your annual planting costs as you remove planting acreage to plant the trees. Turn another percentage of your planting areas into fallow field areas and now you’re starting to let your property pay a bit of its own room and board.

So what’s the bottom line after all of that?? The bottom line is that if you plan out your tree plantings to involve trees that produce during the warm seasons and the cool seasons, you will begin to add free, highly nutritious and highly sought after wildlife food. Not only do the trees provide sustenance, they double as bedding areas, travel corridors, and wind breaks, and create important edge to your property that only improves the diversity within your property. Wildlife trees take a long term investment, but they pay for themselves year after year with little to no maintenance. Am I saying don’t plant annual plantings? By no means. A proper wildlife management program includes it all: annual plantings (warm and cool), fallow areas, and tree plantings.

In a society where we expect immediate gratification, food plots offer that gratification within a week’s time as you go out to your plot and see instant results of germination. Trees are the sleeping giants of economical and high impact results to wildlife management and it’s hard for everyone to see the trees for the deer but your budget sees the genius of a well thought out tree planting plan and you will see it too when that head full of antlers steps out to gobble your acorns!

Not sure how to get started? Give us a call or email and Tree Protection Supply will be happy to assist you in getting your tree planting projects pointed in the right direction

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