Why labels should not be attached to trees

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by Daniel Mosquin, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Since I scanned in this slide for an inquiry, I thought I'd share it with forum visitors in case the question is asked again in the future.

    This was taken at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney in November 2001.
     

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  2. AM Downie

    AM Downie Member

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    Good photo, Daniel!

    I thought I'd offer a comment or two about labelling trees.

    The practicalities dictate that some sort of label be attached to the tree. What are the options? Putting a name stake in the ground near the tree in an arboretum setting is not always the answer. For trees grown in turf the label gets in the way of grass trimming (and can become a projectile if caught by a careless line trimmer operator). Trees growing in garden beds can have their labels obscured by ground vegetation, or be distrurbed by gardeners doing maintenance (weeding, etc.). Plus the continual task of righting labels that get knocked over, theft, etc. mean that this labelling method is often more work than affixing the label to the tree.

    Any labelling system needs maintenance. As your photo illustrates, what is often overlooked is the need to loosen label fastenings as the tree grows.

    I would avoid attaching labels to small, young trees. But for larger specimens the wound created does little damage, and attaching the label to the trunk provides a practical means of dealing with the issue.
     
  3. Likewise, I'm more bothered by unlabeled trees in collections than those that have signs that need to be removed and replaced. And if failure to keep up with maintenance of signs (adjusting screws) is likely in a particular setting, maybe it can still support the use of informative labels tied onto side branches.
     
  4. trillium trace

    trillium trace Member

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    Since we plan to need labels on large and small trees, we shall have to find at least two different answers to our problems. Any suggestions are welcome, as well as a suggested source for acquiring the labels. trillium trace
     
  5. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I find the ones in ground in garden beds are great, where they cant be used how about ones that have a nice large loop that goes over a decent sized, low scaffold branch? I hate to see girdling ties and I am not a big fan of screws in trees (over the long term).
     
  6. trillium trace

    trillium trace Member

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    Thanks for the info. Where does one buy the needed labels, either great big ones or small or in between? My gardening catalogs do not show these.
     
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    We make our labels inhouse using a laser engraver and anodized aluminum. There are sources of ready-made or custom-made plant labels, though - I'd check out a search engine and search for "plant labels" custom to get an idea of what's available.
     
  8. pdespoelberch

    pdespoelberch Member Maple Society

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    An alternative to the screw (which never unscresws but breaks) is to use a very small screw with rounded head and to attach a long strong wire (plastic coated copper electric wire). The wire will get "eaten up" by the tree as years go by, with indeed as Alex says, a small wound in the cambium. The screw is soon gone, deep into the tree. The wire sticks out and can be cut or prolonged in due course. The whole thing is not very elegant but effective.
     
  9. trillium trace

    trillium trace Member

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    Thank you for your suggestion. We have decided to use 3 x 5 cards on small posts in front of the trees. We are progressing slowly as we clear golf cart paths through the forest. Hal Todd
     
  10. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    That works well so long as you remember where to place your chain saw in the future when you decide to chop them down - those bits of metal embedded in the trees could be bad for your health under those circumstances!
     
  11. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    Many mills will not saw lumber from trees that come from a habited area. Too much chance of surprising the sawyer with unintended projectiles, or, worst case, breaking the band saw. (A real 'oh heck' or similar words). In older areas, once EXTREMELY rural, (now close to town) railroad spikes or dock spikes were used to hold bottles,(especially Coke bottles) as insulators when running power lines. As this hardware grew into the tree, it completely disappeared. Only to re-appear as a projectile capable of killing or severely injuring persons around the saw.
    Weekend Gardeners comments are well taken.
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I hang them on side branches so if the wire is left on too long without being loosened the main stem (trunk) is not affected.
     
  13. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    I'd probably insert a small wire into the tree with a tiny metal pin or screw to hold a small tag. But only on my own trees, if I had a collection.

    One benefit of keeping labels or signs on small stakes, away from the tree, is that it often reduces the foot traffic over the root zone; in public areas anyway.
     
  14. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    when I tag trees, usually the little disc number tags, I use aluminum nails. They arent easy to 'back out' like a long screw but they are soft enough that if the tree was ever being cut, the nail shouldnt hurt anyone.
     

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