Printer Friendly

Plant labels the last? Which materials? Which markers? Buy them or make them?

A plant label doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, but it has to be readable. If it's bleached out by sun, washed out by rain, or blown away by a gust, you might as well have spared yourself the trouble in the first place.

Devised by practical-minded gardeners, the labels you see here are meant to be trouble-free, both to make and to use. No matter how humble, they're reliable tags for plant varieties, planting dates, your own experimental crosses. They've stood the test of time in readers' gardens and in our own trial beds.

Which materials and markers

last longest?

On three kinds of commercially available materials--plastic, wood, and aluminum--we wrote in pencil, ball-point pen, grease pencil, and regular and permanent felt pens. We mounted one of each combination on two boards. One board spent the summer on a sunny, south-facing wall in Yuma, Arizona; the other under a sprinkler in a Seattle garden.

At the end of three months, the labels that held the writing most clearly were rough-surfaced plastic ones. Smooth-surfaced plastic labels didn't do nearly as well; they became brittle and broke easily in one season. Wooden lables worked well only if marked with permanent felt pens. Pencil and ball-point writing disappeared from them almost entirely.

We tested two types of aluminum labels. The softer ones, which allowed the information to be simply impressed with a sharp point, not written, lasted best of any labels in our test. Most writing on harder aluminum labels faded rapidly, but grease pens and pencils worked exceptionally well on them.

Durability of all the markers we tried ranged from excellent for permanent felt pens and grease pencils, to fair for pencils, to poor for ball-point and laundry pens.

Some homemade labels

Home gardens we checked with had other label favorites. Labeling tape is often used. It's legible and long-lasting but bonds poorly to wood. Some gardeners find it works best when stuck to metal or plastic. Easy, inexpensive alternatives include plastic strips cut from gallon milk containers, or small, square plastic tags used to keep plastic bread bags closed.

Labels cut from cedar shingles are attractive and enduring. After cutting them out with a band saw, as shown above, sand them lightly to make it easy to write on them (use permanent felt pens or paint). Another sanding at season's end cleans the slate.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Sunset
Date:Mar 1, 1986
Words:395
Previous Article:Foliar feeding: fertilizing plants through leaves instead of roots.
Next Article:What call is there for a leaf blower?
Topics:


Related Articles
Sowing gene-altered antifungal bacteria.
Labels to keep track of your plants and planting.
DNAP RECEIVES U.S. PATENT FOR MARKER GENE
DNA PLANT TECHNOLOGY RESPONDS FAVORABLY TO FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION'S ACCEPTANCE OF CALGENE'S KANAMYCIN MARKER GENE AS A FOOD ADDITIVE
Quick and easy garden markers.
Home Life: Your Garden: GIFT RAPT; Find perfect presents for green-fingered friends.
William Frick & Company.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters