In this series of articles, we will be sharing exclusive coverage from all aspects of APF 2022. 

Tree protection brands battle it out at APF 2022. 

ANYONE who wandered beyond the Husqvarna Arena will have found themselves on APF’s ‘tree shelter alley’ – where the competition was just as fierce. 

A number of brands, each claiming to have the number-one solution, showed off their products to foresters, landowners and woodland managers alike, all hoping to secure more sales ahead of the busy planting season. 

Whether it be biodegradable protection, more traditional methods, or a mix of the two, there were bagfuls – in some cases, quite literally – of shelters to explore. 

Forestry Journal: Tubex’s James TaylorTubex’s James Taylor (Image: FJ)

Attempting to offer the best of both worlds was Tubex. With its recycled, traditional shelters on one side, and its bio-based Tubex Nature on the other, it was hoping to spark debate about the best option for protecting the nation’s trees. 

“There have been a lot of questions in the industry since we were last at the APF,” said Tubex’s James Taylor. “Especially around tree protection. There are a lot of questions around biodegradable shelters and our recycling scheme. 

“We are going to be pursuing both options and see that as part of our portfolio going forward. Whether that be recycled shelters in easier-to-reach spaces, or biodegradable options for hard-to-access locations, we have been having really good discussions. 

“We’re trying to keep an open mind with the more science there is – and what’s the right product to use.” 

Forestry Journal:

One of the newest brands at APF 2022 was Vigilis Tree Shelters. Previously of Suregreen – but now a separate entity – its main selling point is the science behind its biodegradable shelter. Designed by Dr Alexandra Busnel of Biome Bioplastics – this is her first foray into forestry – the shelters are made from potato, starch and corn and will break down into the soil within seven years of being installed.

“It’s not sustainable for the industry to keep on pumping plastic into the market,” said Oliver Beech, technical sales manager. “We have created, through hours of lab results and testing 750 different polymers, our Vigilis Bio Shelters. 

READ MORE: APF 2022: Record number of visitors turn out for forestry show

“It’s the one thing the industry really needs, and we’re positive we have the science to back that up.” 

Dr Busnel added: “We wanted to use the same equipment as polypropylene, but different. We are reaching the same mechanical properties, but it is tailored to break down into little pieces. 

Forestry Journal: Gary Hurlstone, MD of NexGen tree shelters Gary Hurlstone, MD of NexGen tree shelters (Image: FJ)

“Then it goes into the ground and can be eaten by bugs.”  

Sticking to the biodegradable theme, there was also recently launched NexGen – made from wool – and several others with similar items on display. 

But right next door to Vigilis was Rainbow Professional, with its Terra Bio Tube. Certified soil biodegradable, it is also safe for marine and freshwater environments. And, unlike others, comes from UK PEFC-sourced wood. 

“This is a little bit of a departure for us,” said Simon Place, Rainbow’s global sales director. “It is made up of wood particles and recycled bio-oil.

Forestry Journal: Simon Place, Rainbow’s global sales director.Simon Place, Rainbow’s global sales director. (Image: FJ)

“It offers all the protection you would expect of a traditional tree shelter – from voles, mice, deer. It’s been two-and-a-half years in the making, and we’ve involved universities in the Netherlands.

“It has a service life of five to six years. It then begins to degrade for two years. It can be left outside, it has its own microclimate, and we feel it is class leading.”

Keep an eye across our channels for the extended versions of all of these interviews