Ever walked into a museum and peered at the exhibits on display? Now think what would happen if there were no labels to explain what they were all about. Similar is the case of labels around trees. In large estates, nature parks and reserved forests, tree labels help nature lovers know and recognize the species, more so researchers who must pinpoint accurately every specimen they study. Hence it is necessary to have a label in every case.
Another important reason for putting labels is having additional information of a tree besides basic details. It is imperative to know other aspects apart from the herbarium specimen. All these can be done through tree labels only.
However, labeling of trees is a systematic and definite activity and is not limited to merely putting up a board in front of a tree. There are many options to choose from and some of them are given below.
Ground stake – There are many varieties here. The most common is wood stake with a board on top for the label which is written with waterproof paint. Some boards have plastic pockets where a printed label can be inserted and the plastic sealed tight against the elements. Stakes are also available in metal or plastic with replaceable labels. These are very useful if the same stake is placed in front of another species. In cases of tree removal in Melbourne or for that matter anywhere else, the stake can be carried elsewhere and the label changed. Simple! Finally, in reserve forests, heavy metal stakes with particulars etched on boards are often seen before very old or rare species of trees.
Tree Tacks – There is a general perception that attaching labels or tree tacks directly is harmful for trees. But there are specially made tacks that do not affect the growth. Stainless steel tree tacks have expansion springs that do not restrict growth or cut into trees as they grow unlike ordinary tree tacks. Labels are directly pasted on the tacks or marked with waterproof paint.
Tree Hugger – This is slightly different from a tree tack. A stainless steel spring is placed around the trunk of the tree which is held in place by the label. As the tree grows, the spring expands and the tree bark is not harmed in any way. However, a stainless steel spring cannot be expected to expand perpetually. Hence, as the tree matures, the tree hugger has to be changed with one that has a bigger diameter.
Other Options – While these labels are the traditional ones, there are other options too. One of the most common is to engrave stones with the required information and place them at the base of a tree. The same can be done on blocks of wood after having them treated with anti termite and waterproof paint. And of course a bit of technology will not be bad. The information for a label can be typed on a computer and the printout laminated and placed on a ground stake.
The crux of the matter is passing on information about the tree. How this can be down is best left to creative thoughts.