Buy Tree Guards Or Make Your Own
There are many types of tree guards serving many different purposes. Most of the tree guards you may see on the market are of a type that you could make yourself, especially those consisting primarily of plastic tubing or wire mesh.
Tree guards are often used with young tress to protect their more tender bark from any number of potential enemies. In some instance it is the weather. Young trees can be damaged by sunburn or sun scald, by wind burn, or by frost, and it is not uncommon to use tree wrap on young trees, putting it on in the fall and removing it the following spring.
Protection Against The Machine - Heavy duty tree wrap material is often used when it is desired to protect a tree from machinery, whether it be heavy machinery or a lawn mower. Tree guards may be advisable where mechanical weed trimmers are used, to avoid inadvertently cutting through the bark of the tree, and possibly killing younger trees having thin trunks in the process.
Sheet metal or a fairly heavy wire mesh is sometimes used for specimen trees near the water if there is a beaver in the neighborhood, with mesh sometimes being the best choice for protection against deer or other bark-eating animals. Rabbits have been known to eat the bark from young saplings, a practice usually easily discouraged by wrapping the trunk in hardware cloth.
Tree Wrap, An All Purpose Tree Guard - While many tree guards can be fashioned in the garage or workshop, or right on the spot using wire mesh or sheet plastic, one type that is usually best purchased is what is commonly called tree wrap. Tree wrap is not terribly expensive as a number of smaller trees can be serviced with a single roll. Tree wrap consists of impregnated paper which is wrapped around the tree in a spiraling manner. Tree wrap is usually used to protect the bark of the tree from the elements, especially sun, wind, and frost. It can also act as a deterrent against some bark eating animals, and even insects, as it is not easily torn or penetrated. Many types of tree wrap can be left on a tree for more than one season. The wrap will eventually deteriorate, but rather slowly. Tree wrap can be used anywhere on a tree where it is desired to protect bark or even branches, but is usually used on the trunk.
Save Your Plastic Bottles - Almost any plastic material that can be cut into a sleeve can be used as to make tree guards. Even plastic soda bottles can be used if the tops and bottoms are removed and the cylinder is then split. The split segments can be wrapped around a tree trunk and secured with twine. These will not yield the most attractive tree guards one could come up with but they can be effective.
Roots Often Need Protection Too - Sometimes tree guards need to protect more than the bark of a trunk or branch. In many instances the roots, or the portion of the trunk immediately below the surface of the ground requires protection, usually from animals. Plastic can be used for this purpose, but hardware cloth is usually much easier to work with, especially if the guard needs to protect the root ball as a whole.
The bottom line is that one can fabricate almost any of the more common types of tree guards. There are instances of course where purchasing them makes more sense, plus commercial tree guards do tend to be more aesthetically pleasing. The one exception is that of tree wrap, which is best purchased. A couple of rolls will go a long way. Wrapping a tree is not particularly difficult, and even gives one a certain sense of accomplishment when done with the task.