There have been quite a few new products available over the past few years that help young trees grow faster and protect soil from drying out.
We decided to test one of these products – the “Tree Tray” and see if it lives up to its claims.
It was a wet & windy winter morning in the Overberg region of the Western Cape, South Africa. We planted a row of 20 Leylandii Cypress trees along a normally dusty side of a gravel road. We chose the Leylandii for the test, as while its not native to Southern Africa, its a fast growing tree that makes an excellent wind-break, provides propolis to bees, is very hardy, and as it is a hybrid it does not disperse seeds or spread itself.
Out of the row of 20 trees, 10 trees had Tree Trays placed around them and the other 10 had a soil circle around each tree. Each tree was then given 10L of water to settle in. No further water was provided to these trees until Spring when they were put on a drip irrigation system, providing 12L of water to each tree every 2 weeks.
20 Leylandii Cypress, 2kg bags, 10-15cm in height
After 18 months:
Without Tree Trays: 7 trees survive, average height: 50cm, average width: 30cm
With Tree Trays: 10 trees survive, average height 90cm, average width: 60cm
The trees with Tree Trays around them are noticeably healthier and more robust than the ones without. Due to the speed their trunks are growing, we intend to remove the trays at 2 years and reuse them on other trees. With no maintenance required after installation & very little water needed to keep trees healthy, its clear that Tree Trays are highly beneficial to tree growth, especially in areas with harsh climates & water shortages.