This, in turn, limits the requirement for individual tree guards, which can be a major source of single-use plastic in forestry and horticulture. There are some very good new biodegradable tree guards coming to the market and this is becoming a big area of research within forestry. The Woodland Trust is currently running a survey of many different types of guards, including cardboard, plant starch, polylactic acid, and one made of a mix of cashew nutshell, resin and wool. Currently, the cashew nut and wool mix is showing good early signs, but the tests are ongoing because a guard can only be considered reliable if it lasts up to 10 years. Kent county council are in the process of large-scale planting of new trees and has been testing cardboard tree guards on the south downs at Bluebell hill. One year into the project, the guards are showing signs of deterioration, but they are hoping they will last another year to give the trees a good start. The monitoring is still ongoing. Nicholsons are doing some large-scale tests of biodegradable tree guards, which are still ongoing, but the results of the first few years are looking positive. We are happy to say that we offer a biodegradable spiral guard in the Plant Centre.
Not for one moment do I think that I have covered all aspects of sustainability in building the natural landscape. Nicholsons already employ many additional practices to ensure we are being as sustainable as possible. For example, by limiting the use of concrete, using recycled materials for hard landscaping, moving away from black pots for growing in, and recycling growing pots and compost bags. Please pop in to discuss this further, and visit the Yurt which is proudly offering a sustainable, local menu.
Circular alternatives to peat in growing media: A microbiome perspective. Taparia, Hendris, Nijhuis, de Boer and van der Wolf. Journal Of Cleaner Production. 327 2001
Kent county council website https://www.kent.gov.uk/environment-waste-and-planning/nature-and-biodiversity/trees/case-study-biodegradable-tree-guards#:~:text=Switching%20to%20biodegradable%20tree%20guards&text=This%20year%20the%20project%20has,and%20noting%20levels%20of%20decomposition.
Woodland trust website https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/research-and-evidence/plastic-tree-guards/