Eco-Friendly Alternatives

10 Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Plastic-Free Tree Guards

Tree guards are protective barriers placed around young trees to help them grow. 

Tree guards are made of plastic. They are harmful to the environment because they degrade into tiny pieces known as microplastics. 

So, if you don’t want to use plastic tree guards and pollute the environment, you better choose biodegradable tree guards.

I am not going to limit you to one option, as this post promised to show you 10 different environmentally friendly tree guards.

Let’s explore them!

But What Environmental Problems Do Plastic Tree Guards Cause?

Plastic tree guards are harmful to the environment. Here are some environmental issues with plastic tree guards-

Plastic pollution

Plastic tree guards are not biodegradable, so they can persist in the environment for hundreds of years. They can also break down into microplastics, which can be harmful to wildlife and pollute waterways.

This means that once they are discarded or left in the environment, they can persist for hundreds of years. As they degrade, they can break down into smaller pieces called microplastics. 

These microplastics are tiny plastic particles that can contaminate soil, waterways, and ecosystems. 

Wildlife can ingest them, causing harm to marine animals, birds, and other organisms. Microplastics can also enter the food chain and pose risks to human health.

Carbon emissions

The production of plastic tree guards also has negative consequences for the environment in terms of carbon emissions. The manufacturing process of plastic requires significant energy input, often derived from fossil fuels.

This energy consumption contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, which is a major driver of climate change.

The extraction, processing, and transportation of raw materials for plastic production further add to the carbon footprint associated with plastic tree guards.

Tree health

While plastic tree guards are intended to protect young trees, they can have detrimental effects on tree health. The plastic material can create a microclimate around the tree, trapping moisture and heat.

This can lead to excessive moisture buildup, which promotes the growth of fungi and other pathogens. These fungal diseases can damage the tree and hinder its growth.

Additionally, if the plastic guards are not properly fitted or adjusted as the tree grows, they can cause physical damage to the tree's bark.

Improperly installed tree guards restrict natural development. This can lead to issues such as girdling.

Girdling occurs when the tree's trunk becomes compressed or constricted. It impedes nutrient flow and negatively affects the tree's overall health.

Here you go The Alternatives To Plastic-Free Tree Guards

Below are listed ten different sustainable and natural alternatives to plastic tree guards. 

1. Biodegradable tree tubes

They are made of cardboard or plant-based plastics, which break down naturally and provide protection against animals, wind, and herbicide drift.

Check out the biodegradable tree guards.

2. Jute or hemp tree wraps

Reusable and biodegradable fabric wraps that provide trunk protection, insulation, and adjustability.

3. Bamboo Fencing

Renewable and natural, bamboo fencing offers temporary protection from animals and serves as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic guards.

4. Cornstarch-based tree sleeves

Biodegradable sleeves provide physical protection, and air circulation, and decompose naturally over time.

5. Coir netting

Made from coconut husk fibers, coir netting wraps around trees to protect them from browsing animals and is a sustainable alternative to plastic guards.

6. Willow or hazel wattle

Woven fences using willow or hazel branches offer biodegradable protection, a rustic aesthetic, and allow air and light to reach the tree.

7. Living tree guards

Planting hedges or thorny shrubs as living barriers deters herbivores, enhances biodiversity, and provides long-term ecological benefits.

8. Tree collars made from recycled materials

Collars made from recycled plastic or sustainable materials offer trunk protection, and reusability, and reduce plastic waste.

9. Organic mulch

Applying wood chips or straw as mulch around the base of the tree improves soil health, retains moisture, and eliminates the need for physical guards.

10. Tree-friendly plant companions

Planting thorny bushes or aromatic herbs as companion species provides natural protection, enhances biodiversity, and reduces the need for physical guards.

Benefits of Using Alternative Tree Guards

Reduced environmental impact

Plastic tree guards are made from non-renewable resources and can take hundreds of years to decompose. 

Alternative tree guards, such as cardboard guards or biodegradable plastic guards, are more environmentally friendly and break down naturally.

Lower cost

Alternative tree guards are often less expensive than plastic guards, especially when you factor in the cost of disposal.

More natural appearance

Alternative tree guards are less obtrusive than plastic guards and blend in more with the natural environment.

Easier to install and remove

Alternative tree guards are often easier to install and remove than plastic guards, which can save time and labor.


Tree guards are essential to protect young trees and help them grow. But you need to do that in a responsible way. If you use plastic tree guards, they will pollute the soil and harm the environment.

And, here I have introduced you to different eco-friendly and non-plastic tree guards.

If you want to buy biodegradable tree guards, visit our store.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do plastic tree guards work?

Plastic tree guards can protect young trees. But they have drawbacks like plastic pollution, carbon emissions, and potential harm to tree health.

2. What can I put around small trees to protect them?

You can put a tree guard around the small trees to protect them. You can pick some environmentally friendly solutions, like biodegradable tree guards.

3. What is the best kind of tree guard?

The best kind of tree guards are-

    1.  Biodegradable guards: They break down naturally and minimize environmental impacts

    2.  Natural barriers: Use mulch, rocks, or fencing for sustainable protection.

    3. Tree tubes or shelters: These cylindrical structures shield trees from animals and wind, promoting healthy growth.

4. What is the best way to cover a tree?

Using a tree guard can help cover a tree.

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