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Gary's $75 Sturdy Tree Guard

Updated: Mar 22

Municipal metal tree guards cost over $1,000 but one skilled Pollinator, Gary Powell, figured out how to build one in an hour for less that $100. And the best news is, they look as good and are just as sturdy after a year as they do on day one.

Key to creating a sturdy, mean street capable guard is paying careful attention to measurement, accurate cuts and keeping elements in true, vertically or horizontally.  Use your level!  A second pair of hands will help as does a battery powered saw and drill. 


Six Cedar 8 foot 2x4s

2 ½” exterior wood screws


Circular or hand saw


Tape Measure


Bubble level

Carpenter’s Square


Sledge hammer



Cut 5 Uprights, each 28” long and steeply spiked to a “V” at one end.  You will be driving these into the ground.




1.  Put in the 1st upright in the corner of the LONG sidewalk edge.

Place the first upright in the right corner of the long sidewalk edge, with the wide side of the upright parallel to the sidewalk, approximately 3” in from the sidewalk paving. 

Using first a mallet and then the sledge, drive the first upright on the long sidewalk edge. 

Continue pounding until the upright stands 16” above the sidewalk.  Take care to keep the upright straight, not leaning side or front or back. 

Use the level to check.

2. Repeat at the opposite corner of the LONG side. Check each upright for 16” height and true vertical.

3.  Install a third upright, centered between the two corner uprights on the LONG side. 

Measure the distance between the two corner uprights, center the middle upright and drive in.


4. Install the SHORT side uprights, approximately 14” in from the curb.* 

Maintain the same 3” spacing from the sidewalk edge and make sure the wide side of the upright is parallel to the sidewalk paving.



5. Make the top rail for the long edge. 

Presuming the 8’ board is not long enough to span the long edge, you will have to butt boards, centered on the middle post.  Measure from the outer edge of the right upright to the center of the middle upright.  Measure twice and use a square to mark and cut carefully.


6. Attach the first top rail with two wood screws on each upright. 

Place the rail even with the top of the right and middle upright.  Use the level to check level.   Use  two screws at each end to connect the rail to the corner and middle uprights.



7. Repeat on the left side of the top rail. 

Butt the left and the right side of the rail tightly.


8. Measure and cut the top rail for the SHORT side of the tree bed. 

Measure from the outside of the long edge rail at the corner to the outside of the short side upright, next to the street.  Cut that upright.  You will be screwing this rail into the corner and street side uprights AND into the long side top rail.


9.  Install the top side rail. 

Maintaining level, use 2 screws in each upright and a 3rd screw into the top long side rail at the corner. 



10. Complete the guard by repeating for the lower rails on the long and short edge. 

Space the bottom rail approximately 3½” below the bottom of the top rail.  You can use scrap 2”x4” as a guide.




NOTE: City regulations prohibit street guards that extend all the way to the curb.

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