Tree & shrub labels

Saint Helen, MI(Zone 5a)

Any inexpensive ideas on making labels for trees and shrubs? I want to label every tree and shrub I plant with a label that will last 20+ years, hopefully 50+ years.

Philadelphia, PA(Zone 6b)

Hi Sari,
We make lots of labels and decorations from tin cans using the punch technique. It may work with your tree labels. Use ordinary soup cans, or juice cans for larger labels, get a nail and hammer...then strike to make small holes and therefore, letters. It may be tedious and take awhile, though, for your project. We make these tin punches mostly for tealight projects. You will need to make a can holder out scrap wood or something to hold the can or you can cut the label out first with special scissors (we've already used a dremel and a drill bit to undo can seams), then lay over top of a log or something where the nail can go through a bit when you strike. Just a thought...
Trish

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Sari... I finally got tired of labels that fade away... and have started making my own. I bought a roll of tooling copper from a craft store (36 gauge) and cut it into strips wider that I needed/wanted by 1/4 inch all around. Then I folded it over 1/8 inch all around, compressed it fully, punched a hole, and either made a tie of twisted copper wire, or affixed it to a metal wire stake. It is a bit tedious to mark hard enough with a ball point pen to make a deep impression, but I feel secure that I now have markers that will withstand Time, and The Elements! (And, it has actually become a cottage industry.). I am now looking at buying a set of metal type fonts, the old-fashioned kind used by typesetters years ago, and using my press to make more legible markers. (My handwriting is not the best.) I expect, that unless affixed with a dis-similiar metal, these will take on a lovely verdigris finish over time and last as long as I need. Affixed with a dis-similiar metal, something akin to galvanic action will take place, where one metal 'plates' onto the other. If the copper is the softer, it may eat away the punched hole and fall off the stake. They certainly should hold up better than steel soup can material, no matter what.
-darius

Chatham-Kent, ON(Zone 6a)

Cut up vinyl siding pieces should last 40 years but you would have to touch up the permanent marker's writing periodically . Attach these labels with stainless steel wiring so it does not rust away .

Olive Branch, MS(Zone 7b)

Dicentra, fill your tin can with water and freeze it for a firm surface to punch into. Then you can cut out anything else with the snips that you want to after the water has melted.

I've used plain white tiles painted with ceramic markers and fired in the oven for my roses. It stands up to the UV pretty well so far. I've also gotten a roll of aluminum roof flashing and you can inscribe on it with a Dremel and hang it with the stainless steel wire that Chooch recommended. However, you gotta invest in a deburring tool to go with those tin snips with that stuff! It's pretty darn sharp after cutting.

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