Supporting Better Public Awareness

For our planting projects we are increasingly looking to biodegradable shelters and/or herbivore management to reduce the need for using tree guards. Traditional plastic tree guards are often described as single-use but with care and good timing, can be removed from established trees and redeployed, allowing two or even three trees to be protected by a single guard. At end-of-life, Kyle of Sutherland Fisheries Trust also pay for guards to be recycled via the Tubex Recycling programme. This process currently works out at 10p per guard.  We are also hoping that a recycling hub will be set up in the North of Scotland (as has been done elsewhere), to reduce or remove this cost.

In 2016 Kyle of Sutherland District Salmon Fishery Board staff planted locally sourced birch, juniper, alder and willow trees to create seed sources and riparian buffer zones along several kilometres of the Strath Seasgaich and Allt Eileag, tributaries of the River Oykel SAC. The planting was part of the EU LIFE-funded Pearls in Peril project, delivered in collaboration with Forestry & Land Scotland.

During winter 2022-23 Fisheries Trust and Board staff have been documenting success rates, carrying out maintenance on the trees and removing tree shelters, while retaining tree stakes where required for stability. Overall, success rates have been excellent with many groups of trees thriving and some trees reaching 4m in height. Biodegradable tree stake ties made of jute have been deployed to support trees after removal of guards. 1.8m recovered guards have been cut down to create 1.2m and 0.6m guards which have already been deployed to protect newly planted trees at Tirryside. Where guards are damaged these are being recycled.

Fisheries staff recovering tree guards before re-staking trees with biodegradable ties to provide stability as trees establish.


Watson Fellowship volunteer Dylan Morse from New York helping for 2 weeks while traveling around the 'salmosphere' learning about atlantic salmon conservation.

Map showing the locations of groups of trees planted on two tributaries in 2016 (blue pins)