I will be planting fruit trees (apple, pear, chickasaw plum, persimmon, crabapple) during the winter. I have access to some tree tubes however they are black. Are these okay to use or will it be an issue?
Hmmm. Good question. I have never seen black tree tubes available. I would sure think that a black tree tube would fry a seedling during the heat of the summer. I personally wouldn't risk killing my trees but I was going to use them I'd make sure they are well ventilated.
Maybe someone else on here will have more insight.
Welcome to the forum. Zone 7 is similar to my zone. Black tubes will be much too hot during July and August. Don't use them as is.
What to do? If you had a soldering iron, you could burn some holes in the tubes to vent them as Dogdoc suggested. We don't want large holes, we want small holes that will allow hot air out and air into the tube.
I would go to a paint store and get their thoughts on what spray paint will work on them. White is what I would attempt to paint them. It might take two coats. Painting them can't reduce our ventilation - so if painting them means I have go back and add vent holes then I would do so.
One other thing you can do, split the tubes down one side top to bottom and use cable ties to make two tubes into one tube. You will almost double the outside size. This will help with managing air in and air out. If you ever direct seed an acorn or chestnut, you can take a 5 ft tall black tube and cut it into three 20 inch tubes.
My main point - a black tube will fry your seedlings in July and August if you use as is. Modify in some way or discard them.
Good luck with your fruit trees and welcome to this forum. Glad to have you.
I used black drain pipe this past year for some trees because I had it readily available. Most of the pipe I split. It was perforated drain pipe so I believed it would get enough air to not burn the trees up. It did not matter. Almost every tree fried. I was able to save a couple but they are set back. I will see in spring if they made it or not for sure. My recommendation would be to order some. The cost of the lost trees I will be replacing heavily outways the cost of the tubes I should have purchased IMO. Lesson learned the hard way. I am in zone 8A in SC.