EARTH PACKAGING: Sirane develops alternative to plastic tree-guards

Plastic tree-guards could become a thing of the past....

“PLASTIC tree guards are a plague on new woodland” screamed a headline in The Times last week – well Sirane has developed a sustainable alternative…

Around 200 million plastic sapling protectors have been deployed by the Woodland Trust, Forestry England, the National Trust and private landowners in the past four decades – and the article claims many are just left to rot in the wild.

Sirane has developed a solution – a water-resistant sapling protector/tree guard which will eventually compost, removing the need for anyone to go and retrieve it – something which in many instances, they are legally bound to at least try to do.

However, The Times quotes a spokesperson from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, who claims recovering them is beyond the capabilities of most landowners.

Karl Heggarty, sales manager for Sirane Horticultural, said: “This was raised with Sirane as an issue a while ago, and we’ve been developing an alternative for a while. As it happens, we were just about to release the product to the market.

“Our Earthboard sapling protectors are made from a unique water-resistant card. They have the necessary shelf-life to protect the saplings but will eventually break down – so there’s no time needed to spend retrieving them.

“They have anti-fungal coating and are additionally treated with ‘spices’ which deter rodents and deer etc. All in all, they are a great eco-friendly alternative.”

With the Conservatives having pledged to plant 30 million trees a year, and the government’s committee on climate change calling for 125,000 acres of new woodland a year, they could help significantly cut plastic pollution.

Most of the plastic tree guards currently used are made from polypropylene. Whilst they are designed to break down over time, that can be a lengthy process, and they only ever break down into smaller plastic particles which end up in the soil.

In response to the article in The Times, DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) responded by saying the tree guards should be recovered.

A spokesperson for the Forestry Commission said: “We take our responsibility to protect and enhance our forests very seriously, which is why our woodland creation schemes require anyone using plastic tree shelters to remove and dispose of these responsibly when they are no longer fit for use.

“Any agreement holders who fail to do so may be subject to a penalty or reclaim.”

Sirane has been developing a range of sustainable, compostable and recyclable products for a couple of years now under our brand Earth Packaging – and only last week BBC One’s War On Plastics filmed here ahead of series 2 in April.

We’ve taken a small booth at IPM Essen within one of the UK Pavilions (Hall 3) organised by the Commercial Horticultural Association… and among other things, will be showing off the Earthboard sapling protectors….

Sirane’s horticultural division offers products such as compostable plant pots, absorbent water-retaining flower pouches, and compostable flower wrap – and Earthboard has been a recent addition to our horticultural range.

Karl Heggarty, Sales Manager for Horticultural, said: “We’ve really developed our horticultural range during 2019, particularly with our sustainable Earthboard solutions, and so IPM Essen seemed the next logical step forward. With 54,000 visitors and more than 1,500 exhibitors, it’s always a busy show.

“Eco-friendly packaging is currently a big driver in the market, and that’s where companies like Sirane can really come into their own. We already had a range of compostable products, including plant pots, flower pouches and flower-wraps.

“But Earthboard is the next step. Earthboard is a water-resistant board, which we can form into plant pots, and into sapling protectors. The board is 100% sustainable and 100% compostable – so can be used to replace single-use plastic.

“We’ve spent the year developing and fine-tuning the products, to make sure they meet the criteria needed, and can share all our findings on shelf-life etc.”

IPM Essen runs from January 28-31, and the Commercial Horticultural Association stand can be found on the UK Pavilion in Hall 3, booth 3B37.

For more information on any horticultural product, or appointments/visit requests, contact Karl Heggarty on 01952 230055 or email

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