I was making my labels out of aluminum sheeting and galvanized wire to help keep my cost down. Needless to say, I cannot seem to keep up with making them at this time. I did buy a Brother P-Touch label maker to help with my labels.
What type of garden marker/labels does everyone find best and where do you get the best pricing from? Also, what size/style do you prefer?
Thanks in advance!
I have tried metal mini-blind slats, heavy duty plastic knives, white plastic markers in two diffrent lengths, tiny terra cotta starter pots and more. All of the above I used with Sharpie markers. All of the above were not long lasting. The Sharpie marker faded within two years or less which then required refreshing after figuring out traces of what had been written there before. With as many as I had by that time this was tedious as can be.The Brother P-Touch labels on zinc markers is by far the best for the long term. No fuss, no muss, totally legible, no fading at all so far(3 years), and the tape adheres beautifully. The problems with the others led to an identifying nightmare that I am still digging out of. I am still finding faded slats occasionally laying flat on the ground or partly buried, broken brittle plastic knives that become totally unreadable, disentegrating terracotta pots(I thought they were cute and more porous for the marker to saturate better) and white plastic markers that have heaved out of the ground(from our kind of weather) over time and names on them too faded to read for a certainty. I have several hundred and I would go no other way given the volume I deal with.
Some of these above methods might work great for some, but for me and the long term, I have found the answer and am verrrry thankful. I will not go back. I do use white plastic markers as a temporary one while waiting for more zinc ones to arrive or for marking a noid until I find out who it is. You already have the P-Touch...
I used to use a sharpie on my plastic markers, but the paint pens work much better... as for the markers that come with the Ferry~Morse markers... I have yet to see if they survive the winter...The paint pens I used last year are still dark and show little fading. I'd love to buy the little metal ones...but they show too much. I shove my little plastic markers into the ground so that you can barely see them.
Hmm...I guess I'll find out, eh? One winter here, and they may change their characteristic... so far, I've bent them on accident and then bent them back.. and hit one on the side digging with my shovel... didn't seem to hurt it much. But... after a year in the ground... who knows. I just started using them this year. &:-)
I use p-touch industrial strength tape on thin metal window blind slats. I leave the blind strips 6 to 8 inches and bury them about half way. I tried, and still have a ton of zinc markers. The extreme summer heat deteriorates the tape on the zinc. After the second year it just crumbles off. Paint pens or markers can't cut it here. So far the mini blinds are 3 yrs in the ground and are still looking good
Well -- I use the metal markers from Kincaid Gardens. They aren't cheap (run about a dollar apiece) -- but they're virtually indestuctable. I use an electric label-maker for the names, etc. -- the labels are laminated and fade-proof. So, once done, done.
I also use SS markers from Kincaid Gardens. In quantities of 100 they range from $78-$86 depending on length + shipping cost. I have started using laser printed labels on weather proof Avery labels # 15510 (1" X 2 5/8"). I understand from the individuals that maintain the Iris garden at the Memphis Botanical Garden that these labels have been in continuous use for 12 years and have not degraded.
Boy, that last one sounds intriguing! Please tell me about the laser printed labels on weather proof Avery Labels #15510. Do you create these on your computer, a label maker, what? And where do you get these Avery labels? Do office supply places have them?
I purchase the labels at Office Depot. They come 30 labels to a sheet in packs of 300 labels. Labels are created using MS Word using mail merge from my Excel spreadsheet that includes my numbering system, name of the cultivar, hybridizer, and Intro year. I purchased an inexpensive laser printer for this purpose. I had been using a P-touch label maker, but find this easier to use. I am currently in the early stages of removing the P-touch labels (~800) and replacing them with these laser printed labels.
What I really like about the EON markers is they come in pretty colors. I got forest green for my Japanese irises, and the blue for the siberian irises, which is very handy when searching for an iris. At the co-op price they are 50 for 15.50 in the colors.
Oh wow, I just wish there was away to mark our irises that didn't stand up and take away from the plants themselves. I have the tall Rose Markers from PawPaws Labels and Markers. I call them my little cemetery markers. But when your weeding and all they hurt like the devil if you happen to rake your arm up against one of them. Of course the weeds want to grow right up through them too. I'm thinking someone is surely going to invent something to keep the weeds out from the irises...(well I can dream can't I) LOL Preen helps but nothing I've used works 100%.
irisloverdee was referring to the co-ops held here at davesgarden for EON markers.
The EON markers, as far as I know, are actually made at Paw Paw, and if you google Paw Paw and plant tags or plant markers or garden markers, you should find their wedsites. I can't remember which is cheaper, but one of them, I think, doesn't charge for shipping.
Dee was referring to the other co-ops, not the one on here. It would be nice if someone would do one here.
Eon and Paw Paw are two different companies. Paw Paw does not make Eon. The lady that makes the markers at Eon, Dawn, had a heart attack not too long ago, so I don't know what the status of the company is. Both Eon and Paw Paw are very small, family owned, but very excellent comapnies to deal with.
wow Polly! I've been told by no less than 5 people that Paw Paw made the Eon markers. probably because they look the same. This is great to know! I've been ordering from EON but had been wondering if I should switch.
Where would I get the Painters Paint Markers by Elmer's? And will they work on those white plastic markers you can purchase at Home Depot? I like to use those for my irises in my back bed because I'm always moving around in that bed and I'm afraid I might trip over a metal one and it would cause me to fall rather than coming up out of the ground. At least the plastic ones will immediately break and not bring me down on top of the irises like I'm afraid the metal ones would. I do, however, use the metal ones for my daylilies, and so far I've just purchased them already printed form Daylily Manor.
For now, I am using aluminum tree tags from Forestry Supplies. I write the name of the iris on it and use cut pieces of plastic wrapped clothes-line wire to make U-shaped stakes. I can make the stakes as tall or short as I want, the tags have really lasted and if anchored in the ground deep enough, they don't go anywhere. I sink mine up to the tag. These are relatively cheap and I don't have to worry if the ink will come off. I have tried some paint in the names this year to make them stand out but don't know how that addition to my tags will do through the winter yet. I haven't gotten my "real" beds planted yet. Hubby just finished 4000' feet of barbed wire fencing through the wooded part of our property earlier this month. Before he came home and also before the tiller quit!! He tilled part of my "real" growing bed up. The irises planted as part of the yard and foundation will be left there and I plan to move divisions of each of those to the bed so I will have some of all out there. I finally got all of my irises moved from here...around 1000. The last few hundred are rather jumbled in with some unknowns and mostly historics. Probably duplications on many of those but will get them identified again as they bloom.
Found out what those little hard bumps on the tops of my fingers are...not calluses as I thought...(from pulling weeds I figured...HeHeHe!)...but of course, not to be. All of that pain and swelling...degenerative joint disease.
Anyway...I took pics of the way I make my tags if anyone is interested, I thought I could pass that on.
I use clear plastic knives that I get at Walmart. I get the largest ones. I make labels with a Dynamo label maker, sometimes one for both sides. They don't peal off. I usually order new iris early in the spring and make the labels then before I'm busy in the yard, then they are ready when the orders come. I don't have many garden quests so the markers are primarily for my own information. Some have been with iris and hostas for several years and are ok. With the hostas I put them right behind the plant where it is completely unobtrusive. In the spring they help me to know where the hosta eyes will emerge so I don't damage them while cleaning the bed.
OH...geez...I have been putting this off. After making 4 small fruit cakes and 10 different kinds of fudge, fixing new recipes to go in my grown children's cookbooks and still not having gotten to wrapping...I need a bit of a break and then off to cooking and baking again!
Tags...1st what I did this year.
What I used:
roll of plastic covered clothes line wire from hardware store
aluminum tags from Forestry Supplies (online..but the aluminum can idea looks good!)
1. I cut all of the wire into 10-11" lengths...apx. not perfect. Kind of wire cutters doesn't matter.
Don't laugh at my choice of tools! LOL!!!
They are what I could find in the new garage after we have moved only some of them there from our old house.
2. I started a wrap around one side of the pliers (I didn't have reg pliers or would have used them. They would have been easier. Channel lock pliers are NOT the thing to use!l) by holding the wire with the pliers and wrapping the wire one time around it.
I used these tags which you can write on with a pencil or a pen if the tip is not too small. A small point will just break through the aluminum or be harder to write with. Only the impressions of the letters are left.
After using a pencil to write the names, I have tried a car paint touch-up pen on a few tags...getting the ink only down into the impressions. It makes the letters show up really nice, but I don't know how well the paint will stay over the winter.
After I finished labeling a tag, I wrapped one end of it around the wire leaving the name sticking out.
The tags I used for the last 2 years were the same. I used unwrapped wire instead of the plastic coated wire. I cut lengths of that clothesline wire about 18" long and bent into a U shape making the sides close enough together to wrap one end of the tag on one side of the U and the other side of the tag on the other side of the U making sure when I turned it right the tag would read upright. This left the tag spread out between the two sides. I ran the ends of the U into the ground up to within an inch of the tag.
This has worked great. The ends of the wire actually rusted and secured them so tightly into the ground that this year I had to wiggle the wires back and forth and use force to get the ones out of the ground that I needed to move.
I think pics of those must be on my desk top computer and will have to look for them.
The plastic coated ones are prettier, but the uncoated wire may stay in the ground better. But...the uncovered ones may rust away after a while, probably faster than the plastic coated.
Anyway...they have stayed firmly for 2 yrs. snow covered in the winter. Zone 7b-8 near the VA shore.
I went to Lowes and bought a box of 2inch ceramic tiles. I then bought a cattle marking paint pen at the farm supply store, the kind they use for cow tags. I washed each tile w rubbing alcohol. Labeled. Then I put two coats of clear Thompson's water sealer over them. That was 3 yrs ago and they still look as nice today as when I laid them down. I bought a brown color, so they blend in w the mulch and you hardly see them. They were cheap to make too. I don't remember the figures, but each marker was around 30 cents if I remember right.
How do you keep them from getting knocked around by animals or slipping around from frost heave?
I really like the way the embosser makes the nice, neat letters which is what I have been wondering how to do. My lettering holds up really well bbut the letters aren't real nice and neat.
I just put them at the base of the plant, no problems. Sometimes they do get covered w mulch, so I have to feel around for them, but so far I am generally pleased w them. They have less cons than anything else I have tried, they seem to be lasting well, and the price is good, they look nice too.
Eastrider your writing seems fine. Your tags stay put and last! Those are the important things I'm trying to overcome. I thought the metal embosser would be faster but it is slow. It is to bad it can't be hocked to the computer! That would make things better or worse!
My wife and I grow iris commercially at our farm and have tried many markers but I find the best ones for us are made by "See Fine Marker Company". They do not have a website. Their telephone number is 208-743-2137 in Idaho. Metal and very sturdy I've had mine since 2003 and still going strong. I use a laser printer on waterproof labels. Not cheap but well worth it. Sorry I don't have any images of the markers that I could find.
Way back on this thread dd95172 from KY mentioned that she uses the Avery weatherproof labels with a laser printer.
I do something similar but use the Avery clear labels instead. I, too, am strictly a computer person and hate writing anything out by hand.
I use both the 1" x 2 5/8" size or the 1" x 4", depending upon how much information I want to put on them. Then I run them through my laser printer (I bought a really cheap one from Costco online) and affix them to the slats of plastic venetian blinds. The slats can be cut to any length. Then I affix one more clear label OVER the printed one and this seems to work quite well.
Initially I tested this method by soaking the labels in a jar of water and all stuck tightly to the slat. I labeled many plants this past fall and they were covered with much snow this winter. So far all have done well and I haven't observed any peeling or fading.
Instead of using a spreadsheet or database and doing a mail merge, I generally do my labels on an individual basis as needed. However, I do wait until the sheet is filled before I print. I use Microsoft Word and do the following:
Letters & Mailings
Envelopes & Labels
Choose the Labels tab & select Options
Highlight the correct product number & press OK
You will return to the Labels tab - select New Document
A new document will appear and it will be in a tables format with all the correct size spaces which correspond to the type of label you are using. If the grayed out lines don't appear, just go to the Tables menu & choose Show Gridlines.
If the Tables & Borders toolbar doesn't pop up, just right click in a blank spot at the top where your toolbars are located and put a check in the correct box to display it.
From this point, you can format your cells any way you want. Sometimes I want the name of the plant in a larger font with other info in smaller print. Just fool around with all the options to see what they do. For those unfamiliar with working with tables, the tab key or cursor is used to navigate around the cells.
I usually save the document and use it as a template for future labels. Once I get the formatting where I want it, I just copy & paste the contents into other cells and then overwrite as needed with the new info.
I hope this doesn't sound too complicated, but I so dislike writing by hand that I'd do just about anything to get around it and I keyboard so much faster. I also found it allowed me to put much more info on a label and this was especially helpful when I did labels for our garden club plant sale.
And the best part for me is that the labels are easy to read and they hold up extremely well.
Since I hope to eventually get my garden in a condition suitable for occasional people to visit besides family and neighbors (I am in the process of getting it listed with HIPS), I would at some point like to change my markers to nice ones. Where is the most reasonable place to get those?
My little markers that I put out last winter are still great! Still in place and very much readable!! The ones with the green plastic in the pictures above do tend to slide out of the ground easier...only one or two did.. than the ones I put out 3 yrs ago. My first attempts are still better with the plain clothesline wire and the wire shaped into a U but using the same metal tags. The wire that is not coated rusts a little and they really get stuck down in the ground. They almost have to be pried out! LOL!
I have tried a lot of things, and anything is better than nothing!
I was considering a pack of 1000 wooden 6" plant markers for 30. but then found similar ones at Blick's School Catalog for 500 for 6.95! I'm going to try those this year.
wood is great for temporary, mine were written on last fall and over the course of the winter they rotted so badly that I've replaced them all with mini blind slats that I've cut into 5 inch pieces. I printed nice little labels with my regular printer using Avery return sized labels, then for added protection after placing it where I wanted it on the mini blind, I then covered it with Scotch mailing tape folding excess over the top & edges. they look great... and I had read from a few others (can't remember where) that this worked well for them.
I'd hate to have to guess at just how many I've made up like this, but its ALOT.
I agree about the wood. I bought a box of 1000 from Gempler's. The permanent marker stayed pretty well, but the winter was not kind to the markers. Many rotted, and others were stepped on by animals, like illegally free-roaming large dogs. I found many lying next to plants after the winter and was luckily able to match plants and markers. I now use the wood for temporary potting, etc. I bought the zinc ones from PawPaw's and use a Brother label maker. However, I like the laser label idea. The white plastic markers work pretty well and you can use the printed labels, but they also tend to "heave" out of the ground over the winter...and they aren't that much cheaper than the zinc, which have l-o-n-g prongs that go well into the ground, thwarting both weather and animals.
I found something I like - aluminum tags that you can write on with a ballpoint pen and it leaves an impression. There is a little hole and wire and you could attach it to the plant or something else. 100 for about 7.00 also at Gemplers, but they are not advertised for plant tags, just general tags.
I am going back to my plain clothesline wire with my write on aluminum tags. The tags do not stay on well on the green plastic wrapped wired that I made (as shown above). A few have already come off, but luckily I have a map of my irises and could replace them. I update my maps about twice a year.
The ones without the plastic, rust into the ground and really take quite a bit of effort to get out. Also, wrapping the tags around both sides of the wire keeps them on. The plain wire ones I have, which are almost all of them, I ut some in in 3 years ago and they are still great!
I have been thinking about this for some time, since starting a nature trail on our property. I wanted something not too expensive since I have about 200 plants (and more being added all the time) in their native settings along a 1000' trail. But I also wanted them to last forever and look good, too. I was thinking about using water proof paper from National Geographic (that way you can make your labels any size you want) and then as an added insurance laminate the labels. For the holder, I was going to get some thin sheets of copper and some small (1/4") copper pipe. An appropriate length of pipe would be soldered or rivited to the center of a piece of copper that would be cut to about 1/4" (on all sides) bigger that the label. Then the 1/4" extra would be bent over the front framing and holding the label in place. I think they would look nice, but the price of copper keeps going up. I would like to hear your comments on this idea before I try to make a sample.
See my post no's 8015732 and 8015890 on this thread above. The weatherproof laser printed labels have been in place for almost a year now and look like new.
I used to make my own markers using Aluminum, but those described above do not have to be fabricated.
I got my ptouch label cartridges from bluedogink.com It was a shot in the dark, just googled for best price and they had it. I ordered 2 of the industrial strength black on clear 1/2 inch and shipping was $6.95. Got quick order confirmation and email when it shipped.
I also buy the imprint aluminum tags at Mountain Valley Growers and have been happy with them. I do replace the wire ties they include for sturdier wire in longer lengths. I make decent size loops of wire to circle the new rhizomes when I'm planting and plant the iris with the wire wrapped loosely around it. I leave the tag laying on the soil next to the rhizome. I mostly don't need to ID anything until I'm moving or dividing so for me it works that the tags are on the ground or half covered by dirt:lol:
We are also a commercial garden in the San Francisco Bay Area of California (Nola's Iris Garden). We've been using See Fine Markers (photo below) as mentioned above; but they sell by the hundred (I believe) and they are very heavy so freight can get expensive. We use a Brother P-Touch with "TZ" tape. The TZ is the UV resistant and water proof and our original labels have been in the garden for 8 years. We have better luck using the black on white but also use the black on clear tape. My weeding crew has still been know to pull them out during weeding season (Spring), but they are getting better.
Weed control is a challenge. We do spray a commercial preemergent in the Spring and whenever we transplant. I also use Preen in my small personal gardening beds but it must be reapplied regularly.
Thank you for the suggestion on the Avery labels. I will give those a try for some other projects we have going on, like my potted plants.
After going on 3 years, the wire I use to put my tags in the ground with is finally rusting through. The Al forestry tags are still very readable. I have started replacing the wire and just taking the tags off the old wire and attaching it to the new. After trying everything I could think of, these have lasted best and the printing is still great. Pricing is not bad either!
Thanks for all the great information and links on plant labels. I think Iím going to try the Kincaid with the Avery weatherproof because I'd like to use the computer to get more info on the labels.
Question for anyone using the Avery weatherproof labels: (I haven't bought these yet.) How long have they lasted for you? Are they really weatherproof or should I plan to put a clear label on top for extra measure? I'll be using an inkjet printer, not a laser. Any idea if that will be a problem with fading?
BINGO ó I never thought of using Excel to merge to Word for printing labels. (Not Iris', but) I had just used Excel to list my seed tray information and needed labels for potting up. Tried this and it worked like a charm. Now, I can use the same data to print on the Kincaid's when I plant outside. Thanks dd95172 for the great idea!
Who knew tagging plants could be so difficult and yet inventive. I have tried for years to keep seedlings of all kinds straight. I too found idea's of popsicle sticks, brass trophy plates, aluminum writable tags, PT Touch labeling. Nothing lasted. My husband and I came up with stainless steel dog tags. (Stainless Steel needs to be 304 to 314.) There are 100 blanks with 30" ball chain for each, for $38.50. We already have medal alpha/numeric stamps. (from $15.00 to $150.00) All on Ebay. O.K now don't laugh too hard, but I intended to use the dog tags around rhizome IN the ground. They will be readable for years. However the dog tags can be used around each plant above ground. I prefer double protection and I love the ceramic tile marker idea for the surface identification. I'll give that a try this season.
Whoever invents the 'perfect' plant identification marker will be a billionaire!
I've used the lightweight aluminum plant tags buried with the iris too. The tags are soft metal and I just used a ball point pen to "engrave/imprint" the info on it and got a long piece of wire to loop around the rhizome. I map my iris too so burying the tags wasn't going to bug me. Even if they were hard to read due to the dirt/clay stains, I could do a pencil rubbing with a piece of paper and get the name off them. I actually had more problems with the wire disintegrating/rusting out that anything else. Might try nylon or cheap fishing line next time.
I don't know if this company offered the waterproof Ptouch labels but I buy mine from an online company called Blue Dog Ink. I just get the heavy duty type.