Lee Poulsen
Wed, 24 Aug 2005 11:07:27 PDT
I just learned of the DecoColor extra fine point black paint pens only 
a couple of years ago in an article in a gardening magazine that 
discussed this and had several professionals' comments on what they 
did. Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery was the one who said he uses 
the extra fine point DecoColor paint pens. I have really liked them and 
so far, 2 years in the Southern California sun hasn't produced any 
fading that I can discern.

Also at about the same time, a new type of Sharpie pen appeared that 
claims to be "Professional" and is formulated specifically to resist 
chemical and ultraviolet light induced fading. I made a few labels with 
this to see how fade resistant it is, but I haven't checked this year 
yet. Sharpie also came out with metallic colored pens. On the 
hypothesis that the particles that make it metallic really are some 
kind of metal, and that similarly to carbon in laser printer toner 
which doesn't bleach to a white color when continually exposed to UV, I 
made some labels using that kind of pen as well. (However, the 
DecoColor pen's tip is so much finer and doesn't broaden out with use 
like the Sharpie fine point pens do. So I've kind of made the move to 
using the DecoColor exclusively since the tip is so fine that I can 
write more information on a label.)

[BTW, I purchased the vinyl labels from Horticultural Printers that 
Mark M. recommended way back when, and by buying a box for $50, I got 
huge number of labels that I use for everything now.]

As for the laser printer method, my intention is to eventually get my 
entire plant collection entered into a database program so that I can, 
among other things, print out labels on Avery label sheets as John L. 
describes. But I haven't gotten organized enough to have entered much 
yet. I can vouch for the results of all of his "environmental" testing 
of the labels: When Cathy Craig sent out the very first of the BX items 
back in the old IBS BX days, she actually went to the trouble of making 
and including labels in the shipment that she printed out onto some 
kind of transparent label that was then stuck onto a vinyl "pot stake". 
I don't recall how many years ago that was, but those labels are still 
completely unfaded and have not become detached from the vinyl stake. 
In fact, they seem to have bonded to the vinyl such that even though 
the vinyl has become slightly less flexible after all these years, when 
I accidentally snapped one in half, it remained connected and still 
usable because of the transparent label that was attached holding it 
together remarkably well. (The plastic or whatever it's made of neither 
tore nor stretched.)

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena area, California, USDA Zone 10a

On Aug 24, 2005, at 7:49 AM, John Lonsdale wrote:

> Print them on a laser
> printer - essential because it is the carbon toner that
> bonds with the label that is responsible for the lack of
> fading (same as the Brother method).

>  Before doing a lot I iteratively microwaved, dishwashed,
> froze and thawed the labels a number of times and the
> adhesive never deteriorated.  After a couple of years in
> the garden not a single label has peeled or faded.
> The only marker I use that is guaranteed not to fade and
> fine enough for plant labels is the DecoColor black paint
> pen.

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