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The Quest For the Hundred Year Tree Label  RSS feed

 
carl gibson
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Location: Ithaca NY
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I have planted a lot of trees that are going to (probably) still be growing long after I am dead. I would like whoever happens along in a hundred years to know what kinds of trees I have planted, and which varieties. So, what are the options for tree labels that will last a hundred years? Chiseling the name into rock is I guess the obvious one. Anyone have experience with the most expedient way to do this? What about burning the name into thick planks of black locust, or cutting the letters out of aluminum cans and then gluing the letters onto old wine bottles? What kind of adhesive would last a hundred years? Any other ideas? I guess what I am looking for is the best combination of durability, cheapness, and expediency.
 
Deb Rebel
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Metal embossing label maker, 1/2 inch wide non adhesive aluminum strips. I invested in one (used) and despite it's part temper-part mental, the labels stand up to a lot. They will oxidize but won't rust  (stainless can eventually do so). I use this to mark all my momma tree specimens with latin, common, etc names. It can also punch holes in the tape for attaching to a wire. I can cut the tape with a scissors (use one you don't care about) and take the sharp corners off (cut 45 degree corners), string onto aluminum electric fence wire (TSC, about $20 for a quarter mile of 17 gauge, that amount lasts a long time) and attach to a stake by tree or to a lower branch and adjust tight every so often so it doesn't bite into the bark. I have some 8 years old and going strong. I invested in this for labeling water lily pots as everything else rubbed off or if embossed plastic, literally melted away if it got hot.

A new one with metal and plastic parts goes for about $200, you can get used and even some with metal emboss wheels for about $50 on used, but they will often have various issues so it's buyer-beware on those. Reels are about $5 each but worth it in Do It Once and It's Done. One thing that I contemplated for a long time, finally invested in, and was well worth the investment.

Edit
https://www.amazon.com/DYM101105-Dymo-Metal-Tape-Embosser/dp/B0063GZ8DY/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1506045869&sr=8-7&keywords=metal+embossing+label+maker
41nlKF8aC-L.jpg
[Thumbnail for 41nlKF8aC-L.jpg]
Modern equivalent of the one I have
 
Josh Kunkel
Posts: 40
Location: Central Texas
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I use copper washers and old pennies (newer pennies seem to have lower quality metal) to label trees, I hang the label with bare copper electric wire. I use a 3 alpha code, but with larger washers you could stamp out longer written names.

Blog showing my system here if you ate interested:
http://www.1880farm.com/blog/alpha-3-plant-id-tags-at-1880-farm

If you go with pennies the labels are 1¢ each, hard to find a cheaper method. And the washers are reasonably priced if you need more room to write. The metal punches will last generations on copper.
 
Jim Fry
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Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
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No matter what sign or post you make and leave, it will be up to the next owner, and next, and next, ..to keep your post or sign. And what you want to leave isn't all that historically significant. Unless your property is owned by an excessive botanist or historian nobody will care. --So then you have to figure out how to leave a record that will survive. Hanging something on a tree or putting up a marker means somebody has to maintain it. Sorry, I've been to far to many farms and dwellings where the families have sold off or died out to think the new owner or developer will care much about the "who walked there before".

So what can you do? What I've done as I have moved and restored over 40 buildings is to leave notes and artifacts inside the walls for somebody someday to find. If you want to be a little more direct, you could make metal or craved wood plaques to put up inside a building, out of the way so future people won't have a compelling reason to remove them. Then maybe someday somebody will take an interest in that old dusty thing on the wall. Another thing I've done is to leave documents and writings about what we are doing with the local historical society. Then someday if anybody does come along wondering about what "that guy" did a hundred years ago, there will be a record.

But, again sorry, but unless a persons life has historical significance, the historically not that interesting fact of who planted a particular tree isn't going to matter. Put up a sign about who planted what, but don't count on the sign lasting much after you. What will really matter is that the trees exist. Planting more trees may be a better use of time than recording who planted them.
 
Deb Rebel
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Josh Kunkel wrote:I use copper washers and old pennies (newer pennies seem to have lower quality metal) to label trees, I hang the label with bare copper electric wire. I use a 3 alpha code, but with larger washers you could stamp out longer written names.

Blog showing my system here if you ate interested:
http://www.1880farm.com/blog/alpha-3-plant-id-tags-at-1880-farm

If you go with pennies the labels are 1¢ each, hard to find a cheaper method. And the washers are reasonably priced if you need more room to write. The metal punches will last generations on copper.


Copper is a soft metal and easy to work with, pre late 70's pennies are mostly copper in alloy. Especially our recent ones, which are a light weight inexpensive zinc alloy, don't tool the same.

Copper patina's but. Some of the copper compounds are downright dangerous and can kill trees and otherwise sterilize the soil. Suggest something else potentially less toxic is used.
 
Skandi Rogers
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Location: Denmark 57N
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I think it's certainly worth doing, we have inherited two pear trees and 5 apple trees with our property, I would love to know what types they are, so far I can tell that one pear is a early cooker and one a late eater, the apple tree we were told is a cooker is most certainly not, it's a mid season eater...but knowing what they are would be much easier!
 
Hans Quistorff
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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Possibly carve the name of the variety and date planted into the bark of the tree before the label wears out or gets lost.
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 312
Location: Derbyshire, UK
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I use thin sheets of copper or aluminium- stamp the varieties on with metal stamps, and curve around a branch on the tree. A metal embossing label maker does sound somewhat quicker way of doing the same thing though!

Not that mine have stood 100 years yet, more like 5!
 
Wes Hunter
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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Jim Fry wrote:So what can you do? What I've done as I have moved and restored over 40 buildings is to leave notes and artifacts inside the walls for somebody someday to find.


I'd love to hear some specific examples of this, if you wouldn't mind.
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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My easy answer to this is to take aluminum cans and cut them into strips.  Punch a hole through one end and then write on them with a ball point pen, bearing down hard on the pen to indent the lettering into the metal....write on the unlabeled, interior surface of the can.  String a bit of wire through the hole and hang on a branch of the tree.  Aluminum electric fence wire and aluminum cans will last for years and years....usually getting "eaten" by the branch and bark as the tree grows if nobody thinks to move the label or expand the wire.  Sometimes a windstorm can blow them off, too.  Usually I make a map, too, or at least a list.
 
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