Can you use black corrugated tubing to protect fruit trees from rodents?

Asked October 14, 2019, 1:46 PM EDT

I was wondering if you can use black corrugated tubing to protect fruit trees from rodents... most of the tubing that I see is white for tree protection I understand that the sun will heat up the black tubing, but will that cause damage? I can get a hundred feet of the black tubing for about 25 bucks but if the tubing was white it would be five times that price so just seeing if I can get buy a little cheaper for my young orchard that had some vole damage last year.

St. Louis County Minnesota voles

1 Response

Thanks for the question.

I, too, have heard the warning that black corrugated tubing should not be used for trunk protection due to the potential for warming of the trunk. If this does happen during the winter, a freeze-thaw cycle might harm the tree. However, the only research that I have found on this matter is that black tubing should not be used on trunks that are constantly exposed to full sunlight. I think that if two or three inches exist between the inside of the tubing and the actual trunk, this would minimize such a cycle. Also such tubing typically have holes in them that should further mitigate heating. As a proactive measure, you could always spray white paint on the outside of the tubing. That should still be cheaper than buying white tubing. See the following for further information on these and other points:

https://www.queenbeeofhoneydos.com/tree-guards-for-deer-rubbing/

https://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/trunk-protect.shtml

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/use-drain-tile-protect-tree-trunk-39459.html

https://growingfruit.org/t/using-drain-tile-pipe-to-protect-trees/3849

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/protecting-trees-and-shrubs-winter#put-up-physical-barriers-to-keep-animals-away-972411

https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-protect-tree-trunks-from-deer-and-other-wildlife

Good Luck!!