Which Tree Guards Should You Use?

21st July 2022 |

With a variety of tree guards available, you might be wondering which ones are the best for you and the environment.

Tree guards are invaluable in helping to protect your seedlings and small plants from the elements, as well as small animals, giving them the best start in life.  But with a variety of tree-guards on the market, which is best for your purpose?  


Plastic sleeve tree guards create a microenvironment for the plant, and can reduce damage inflicted by the elements (including UV), as well as animals. While these tree guards are recyclable, plastic breaks down into millions of little pieces and will never fully disappear.  These require three stakes for each guard.


Mesh tree guards are cost effective and can be reused many times. They are also very effective in keeping out rabbits, wallabies, and other small animals.  Mesh guards are available in pre-cut or on a roll where they can be cut to size. A mesh guard is a good choice for planting in locations prone to high winds. You will need two stakes or posts for each guard.
Milk carton style (and other similar containers made of cardboard only) make excellent tree guards. They are completely biodegradable, and will usually break down into the soil within 6-12 months due to rain and sun exposure. This means there's no need to remove the guards.  You will need one stake for each guard. 


Corflute tree guards are used widely by Landcare groups, roadside tree planting, river and stream bank planting and various other projects.  They are made from rigid plastic, specifically designed to protect and encourage growth in new plants, whilst sheltering from wind damage and browsing animals. These guards can be reused (weather dependent) and are recyclable, however are still made of plastic which stays in the environment. They require one stake for each guard.


New Biodegradable rigid tree guards are now on the market. These designs offer an alternative to corflute guards for revegetation. They offer similar durability and protection against browsing, although we advise against using biodegradable guards in areas with high wallaby or wombat grazing (unless fenced off), and in areas with high annual rainfall. They are biodegradable and contain zero plastic content.




New Biodegradable sleeve guards have been tested with success levels similar to the classic corflute.  They are made from a biodegradable or sometimes compostable material.  You will need three hardwood stakes for each guard. 




This table has been designed to help Landcarers with an at-a-glance summary of some of the tree guard types available on the market. 

Do you have experience with the pros and cons of different types of tree guards? Let us know.