Best way to label trees?

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)May 22, 2012

There was a post a while ago about how to permanently label trees; I simply cannot find it now. I remember one person said something about putting a nail in the trunk with a metal embossed label. At the time I really didn't realize how fast my trees were going to out-grow their metal tags put on with wire; now one of my apples has no label and I can't figure out what it is.

Any suggestions for permanent labels?

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franktank232(z5 WI)

Of course mentally. That is why right now I have to guess which apple tree is Mac or Cortland, because I removed the tags and my brain is like jello because of 3 rotten little kids; I mean angels sent from heaven.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:35AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

If I want a label to stay, cut a strip of thin aluminum flashing,..comes in rolls, [hardware store] you can write with a ball pen or electrical engraver, punch a hole with a nail over a piece of wood and use a wire to hang on the branch, make sure to make a large loop so the branch has many years not grow in the wire.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:50AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Use a Rambo knife to carve initials into the trunk?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 1:54AM
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Maybe a backup diagram would be a good idea, because even the best labeling system could fail -- branches come off in storms, people and animals disturb things, etc.

Honestly, I have a bunch of young apple trees that I can't ID right now. When they begin to bear, I can match the fruit to the description. I know WHAT I bought because I have the sales receipts from the nurseries, but I didn't label them when planted, and I removed the nursery tags because those sometimes bind the trunk.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 6:12AM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

I use a diagram I make in Microsoft Word. You can insert a text box then move the box around to represent the actual location. In the box I put the name and date planted. I even added a little tree icon.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 7:05AM
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some large nurseries i know of use one, two, or three lines of paint to keep track of what is what. i knownone research program that finally settled on a system similiar to the metal tags on wire described above. another guy j know who is ocd/retwntive enough to keep meticulous records relies on charts and maps. i know of public gardens and arboretae that use computerized software and whatever particular data collection mechanism that software relies on ( more sophisticated rely on digital pics and gps readings, less sophisticated are juwt spreadsheets where each lines and fields in the spreadsheet represent grids in the field.)

this is a problem many people deal with. they find the solution that fits their needs.

as long as it works for you

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 7:05AM
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Like Konrad said, except I use strips I cut out of the heavier beer cans- Heinekens, for example. Gives me an excuse to buy different beers.

I use aluminum wire (from stranded electrical wire at hardware store) which I like because you can make a big loop to allow for growth, but you can squeeze the loop down to a mini-loop to stay on small branches.)

Before I learned how easy it is to lose labels I lost a number of them, and I have half a dozen grafts from one year that are now labeled with a list of possibilities -everything I grafted that year! Should start to see apples in another year or so on those, and then maybe I'll be able to fix it.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 7:19AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Here's what I did. -Glenn

Here is a link that might be useful: My new graft labels

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 7:36AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Below is one past discussion of the topic, you can see my labeling method there. I am using copper sheeting for durability but aluminum is a lot cheaper. I am going after 30-year tags, aluminum starts to dissolve by then (I have a few 10-year alu tags that have partly dissolved). I believe it is better to nail or staple the tag to the tree with a wire or cable tie, the tree will then grow over the wire so it should last more or less forever. The main problem I have had using the plastic cable ties is they occasionally crack when I staple them to the tree. Also its hard to staple them onto a really small tree. Other than that they are all staying on well.


Here is a link that might be useful: tree tags discussion

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 8:25AM
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I used to do like frank and just trust my memory...with results about the same as his....

I like sketches/diagrams for the main plants/trees. Years ago I took a couple of sunny days to create a sun map of the property showing when the sun comes and goes all over. It helps decide where to plant and I just make note on the map.

For grafts I am with Marknmt, cut up beer cans and electric fence wire. I just put up 15 or so last night. I have been told in windy locations they will flutter, wear through the thin aluminum, and blow away. Has not been a problem here.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 8:26AM
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Yes, yes, you must write it down, and put a copy with your deed. This is important information about your property.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:31AM
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I created a diagram using Sketchup.

I also use the metal tags for trees and wooden stakes for berries. As mentioned, neither of those is long-lasting.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 10:34AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Scott, The link you posted was the one I was trying to find. Thank you. I'll do some serious labeling and also make a map.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 11:00AM
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The online tag -selling companies offer 1-1/4", round,eyeholed, aluminum tags that are thick enough to engrave on both sides with a Dremmel tool, and they may sell for 100/$40 or so. Buying an assortment of colored, vinyl, 1/2" - 1" wide tape can work to color-code plants temporarily. Wrap a ring around a branch with one end of the tape strip's sticky surface adhering to the other end of the tape strip's sticky surface. Write down which colors represent which plants. The vinyl stretches well, and the adhesive stuck to itself sticks well. Just don't lose the Rosetta Stone tablet with the color codes....

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 3:04PM
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bennylafleur(6 E. Tn.)

I have a friend that uses a Dymo Label maker, so I got one to try out. The tape can either be aluminum or stainless, and can be secured with alum. or stainless wire. The machine can even punch a hole in the end of the metal tape label.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 4:26PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Lol Glen Russel! Please tell me you have daughters? Anyways, I cant deny that is a neat idea. Its almost too trendy Next thing you know our fruit trees will be wearing friendship bracelets! Beads on trees. What next?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 12:30AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Benny, I looked up those Dymo metal tape labelers. They look real nice, too bad they are expensive. One of those plus a wire or cable tie nailed or stapled to the tree would be a very nice way to make permanent labels.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dymo embossing metal tapewriter

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 7:08AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi Blaze-
Yep, 2 young daughters. We were originally worried about photo-degradation of the beads, but they still look like the day I made 'em. Me, trendy? That would be a first! -Glenn

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 7:45AM
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I use the pawpapw everlast labels style f the tall rose marker. Then I use a p touch label maker with 1" tape to create a periminate label. People claim that these will last 20+ years so far mine are 2 years old and doing fine.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 7:48AM
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I use a hand written diagram that is transferred to computers. I also hang painted gourds. A couple years ago I grew way too many gourds. Not knowing what to do w/22 extra bushels, I took to making birdhouses, toadhouses, etc. I give them a couple coats of tractor paint and write the tree's name on them and hang them. I must admit they look pretty amusing--especially in winter.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 10:07AM
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