Let's talk labels! Labeling Trees

We are looking for a way to label about 250-300 trees and shrubs in our food forest.
50-100 Trees are already established
Another 150 are seedlings
We need:
*Easily available materials in a rural location
*Lasts long (doesn’t fade in the sun like ink)
*Cheap to make
*Easy to reproduce
*Can be attached to a tree or stake depending on size/need

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This is the classic durable label:

You might be able to make something similar with heavy duty aluminum foil wrapped around a piece of flat cardboard.

I don’t know if you guys have aluminum pop cans available? Those work well if you take a scissors and cut off the top and bottom you can make aprox 5 labels with it depending on size needed. Then just lay the flat aluminum onto a piece of cardboard to write on it.

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I agree with tin cans. I’ve been labelling fruit trees for 10 yrs and even the best permanent/waterproof pens wear out, and it’s a pain to re-write. Now I collect tin cans, cut into strips & scribe names with a biro/pointed tool (biros that are empty/stopped working are perfect!). Use a standard hole punch to make a hole at one end for tying string/raffia or whatever. I actually get 10-15 labels per can (but yes depends how much you need to write).


Hiya Karissa,
I’ve been told by a friend with years of experience to get x-ray film and white-out / liquid ink to use for tags. He says this will last for years and that the white-out won’t fade in the sun or wash off in the rain. I haven’t yet tried it, so can’t say for sure.

You could try hospitals, clinics, dental clinics, and if there are any other local businesses that use x-ray film … great :slight_smile:

I went to a local hospital (in Thailand) and got a handful of 10-year old x-rays just for asking. Now, it’s sort of unfortunate that the hospital staff didn’t even cut off the names of the people in the x-rays.

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So we liked the tin can idea but not easily available here because most food is not sold in tin cans. We did find an affordable price on tin roofing edge material. Somewhat flexible and easy to cut. We are painting tree names as 3 letter codes with acrylic paint.

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