Is now the time to consider a free used plant/ tree shelter?

No matter what you are growing, it is unlikely that you planted in order to feed the local rabbit, hare or deer. Their Beatrix Potter charm simply does not endure when increasing your workload for a planned and executed vision of a new landscape.  If you are planting young trees and shrubs, then as with everything else – you may need protection.

Your supplier will be very happy to sell you a new plastic shelter – or they may have a biodegradable version. Copt26 has no doubt given you food for thought, what are you doing, and how are you doing it? Our environmental journey has certainly given those who use thousands of shelters every year, a junction point. The Woodland Trust notably have decided to stop using ‘new’ shelters in the future – which is certainly quite a bold move, given the numbers involved and the successful outcomes that these plastic tubes or rectangular protectors have provided for 35 years.

Every time there is a change, there is an opportunity for the creative to get busy. In this case there are now cardboard, wool shelters and others which try to meet both the environmental and protection objectives. However, there could be another ‘take’ on the matter. The issue is not plastic per se but, when it’s abandoned it passes from useful asset to waste or litter. Just like packaging of any other product. This is the moment when action is required claims the disrupter and inventor Andrew Gray.

Being the typical Yorkshireman he was a annoyed by the waste and also the mess of old shelters – particularly as there are around 85 million of them. The need, he thought, was to find a convenient way to use what we have, especially as we know it works, so that we might have reason to clear up the past without the need to pollute further. After filing a patent he produced a simple video which immediately generated responses from the Forestry Commission, the Woodland and National Trusts (who are starting trials), and quite a few more besides.  Essentially the idea is to take a used tube which would be classed as waste in other circumstances, already split in act of removal, and use a sharp knife or scissors to create a tab – this enables one edge of the longitudinal face to abut the other, and the new tube is retained by one or two silicone bands, which Andrew can supply for 16p. Et voila – a tube is re-made and a new sapling may be protected.

Andrew subscribes to the view that it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission (a totally reprehensible outlook) and is regularly found salvaging used shelters from roadsides and the like. We probably all know of shelters which are now considered as waste, and whether this is foraging or being a womble, if it helps you and the environment then why not line up with Sir David, Greta et al, and do our bit.

Andrew can be contacted on

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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