Our story

Gary Hurlstone founded NexGen Tree Shelters in 2020. Gary was following in the footsteps of his father, Graham, who, in the mid-1980s, invented the Tubex Tree Shelter, which fast became the market leader.

Of course, 35 years ago, we were unaware of the environmental harm some plastics can cause. The climate crisis was not high on the agenda, and few people considered the need to use sustainable materials that degrade without harming the soil or local wildlife.

Today, things are very different. We are all too aware of the urgent need to move away from using plastic and do everything we can to protect the environment.

With this in mind, Gary took his father’s 35-year-old design and began four years of painstaking research to update it to a version that would perform at least as well, be cost-effective, and, most important of all, be environmentally friendly.

Gary worked with foresters, landowners and industry experts, exploring which materials would meet these criteria. After numerous trials, wool proved to be the ideal material for the substrate around which we’ve built the NexGen Tree Shelter range.

Gary Hurlstone and Tim Oliver of Nexgen with a Nexgen Tree Shelter

“Since 2021, the trees we have planted in Aberdeenshire have grown fantastically, with little or no beat-up required. It will be interesting to see how the shelters degrade over the next few years.”

Graeme Warren, Steadman Partners

Helping a new generation of young trees thrive

In 2022, Tim Oliver joined NexGen as our Technical Sales Manager. Tim has been selling tree shelters since 2002 and has sold many millions of plastic tree shelters in that time. He used to defend plastic shelters on the basis that millions of mature trees wouldn’t be alive today without their use.

However, Tim became increasingly uneasy with the amount of plastic tree shelters being left in the countryside that can damage and pollute the land at the end of their useful life. Plastic shelters are fine when they’re removed as soon as they’ve done their job, but many landowners don’t have the money or resources to do this.

When Gary introduced Tim to tree shelters made from natural, renewable materials that are robust enough to last five years before degrading into the environment without leaving anything harmful behind, he thought they were the perfect next step for the industry—and his career. As a salesman, Tim was particularly encouraged that NexGen tree shelters don’t need to be removed, so their lifetime costs compare favourably to plastic alternatives.

Our focus on R&D

Research and development are vitally important to us here at NexGen. Without Gary’s initial efforts, we would not have discovered the ideal balance of materials to create a tree shelter that:

  • Breaks down and doesn’t damage the environment
  • Has passed industry standard ecotoxicity tests
  • Is pH neutral
  • Has excellent tree growth with a high success rate
  • Is proven to last 5 years and comes with an industry first 5 year warranty 
  • Is cost-effective as no recovery needed

After three years of onsite testing the NexGen tree shelters are performing better than we could have hoped for. We will continue to monitor the performance of our tree shelters and research new uses for our material technology. You can find out more about our R&D here.

Why NexGen

The name NexGen reflects that Gary is the next generation of his family to innovate and manufacture a high-performance tree shelter.

However, it also shows our commitment to protecting the environment for the next generation, and generations to come. You can read more about our ethos here.

Our ethos

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Our R&D

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Our team

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NexGen. Protect your young trees. Protect the environment.

Get in touch today to find out more