Vigilis Tree Shelters at Junction 10a M20

Project : 25,000 treeshelters to protect trees and shrubs on new motorway junction near Ashford, Kent

Client : Tilhill Forestry Ltd for Vinci Construction

Location: Ashford, Kent

Product(s): Vigilis 60cm treeshelters with 2 releasable ties


On the outskirts of a large town and on the main route to and from Europe via the Eurotunnel, planning consent for this major road junction construction required speedy establishment of a tree/shrub buffer to act both as a visual screen and acoustic barrier. Particular challenges on the site were exposure, with planting areas vulnerable to prevailing winds coming off the flat lands of Romney Marsh, and poor-quality recovered soil used on the banking under relatively shallow topsoil. In addition, neighbouring woodland/farmland harbours rabbits and possibly small deer, which could browse the young trees, so with all of these factors possibly compromising speed of establishment of the planting belt, careful choice of plant protection was required.


Tilhill Forestry Ltd elected to use Vigilis 60cm treeshelters to individually protect the young seedlings from possible browsing by rabbits and accidental herbicide spray drift. With speed of establishment such a key factor, keeping weed growth to a minimum, allowing the tree seedlings to secure sufficient water and nutrients to sustain growth, was crucial. The reason Vigilis 60cm treeshelters were preferred over competitor products was because the manufacturer installed two sets of releasable ties on each guard, which made them more secure against the wind threat when compared to treeshelters with a single tie, as produced by other suppliers. Combined with locally sourced Chestnut stakes, which are generally thicker than the more common softwood alternatives and therefore better suited to shallower topsoils, trees on the site are now fully protected and expected to create the required natural screen within a few short years.


By using thicker Chestnut stakes and Vigilis treeshelters with two releasable ties, it is anticipated that maintenance costs on this site will be considerably lower than if less ‘secure’ treeshelters had been used, or if no treeshelters had been employed at all. Walking the site and re-staking/re-positioning trees that have blown over is an expensive business, which Tilhill Forestry Ltd have minimised by their choice of treeshelter supplier.