When planting a new young hedge or young trees it is always advisable to protect them from being eaten! If rabbit fencing is not going to be put up, Spiral tree guards are an excellent and economical way of providing protection against the damage caused from wildlife such as rabbits, hares and other small mammals eating the new fresh plant. If they are eaten down at a young age they will be killed before being able to get established and therefore a Spiral guard is actually a very good investment!
Guards are also very useful to protect the plants when on a windy exposed site and a bamboo cane should be used in these circumstances to ensure the plant is not pulled over as the spiral is battered by the wind causing the spiral guard to be blown over or at least leaning with the prevailing wind. Using a cane inside the spiral guard is especially important if planting the younger saplings, which are often used by farmers planting large areas on the stewardship scheme, as they are too weak to hold the weight of a spiral guard. It is also important with larger plants to put a cane with the guard whilst they are establishing their roots. The spiral guards are made from recycled clear plastic and should be wrapped around the central stem of each individual plant, the clear plastic allows light to permeate through to the plant encouraging its growth. It should be noted that it is important to clear the ground of grass and weeds as they will grow up inside the spirals choking the young saplings, denying them of light, water and nutrients. When the trees or hedging plants are well established, the spirals can be removed and in some cases possibly re-used! Spiral guards are suitable for almost all deciduous native trees but should not be considered for evergreens such as Laurel, Holly or Leylandii as the leaves are crushed by the guard.