Plastic tree guards

6th May 2022

3 litter pickers collect littered / non-collected tree guards

While out and about litter picking, plastic tree guards have come to our attention. Some are supposedly biodegradable, some aren’t. They’re often not removed from trees and so end up merging with them as they grow. As with many other single-use plastics, the relatively low price of production is a major reason for its use. According to NHBS, it was estimated that between 1980 and 2020 over 200 million plastic tree guards were used. With an increase in tree planting to meet government targets for 2050, that could mean a lot more unnecessary plastic.

So to non-polluting, sustainable / healthy options. Wiltshire Wildlife Trust use cardboard guards on a jute mat pegged out with wood. That's nature-friendly but will not be suitable in all situations. The Woodland Trust, who provide a great many trees and guards in the UK, are researching sustainable alternatives, reuse, and recycling options.

Saplings protected by cardboard tree guards with a jute mat pegged out with wood

So, if you / someone you know are planting trees, please take the time to consider the impacts of tree guards and make a nature-friendly choice.