Staking Trees

Is it necessary to stake trees when planting them?  It depends…

The purpose of staking a tree is to keep it from blowing over in high winds.  A newly planted tree does not have a well-established root system yet so sometimes staking is necessary.


Here are reasons to consider when deciding to stake a tree:

1. If it’s a large tree in a very wind prone area

2. If the tree is planted on a slope

3. If the canopy of the tree is oversized for the size of the rootball

There are several methods of staking trees and they are fairly similar:

The main principle is to place the stakes in the ground angled away from the tree, so they do not pull out easily.

Use 3 stakes and place them in a triangle shape around the tree so it is supported from each angle.

Use something soft to wrap around the tree so it does not harm the trunk.

Place equal pressure from all 3 angles to keep the tree upright.

*** After several weeks begin to loosen the rope/cable pressure on the tree so that it can begin to stand on its own. Continue to loosen the pressure over the next few months until the stakes can be removed.

This last step is crucial.  If you leave the rope pressure on a tree, it becomes dependent upon the stakes to hold it upright and the tree doesn’t grow a strong trunk.  It’s like the trunk needs to build “muscle” to help hold itself up. 

By loosening the pressure gradually the tree is able to begin to sway when the wind blows.  Continue to loosen the pressure as the tree grows a strong root system that anchors the tree in the ground.  The combination of both a strong trunk and root system will allow the tree to stand on its own for years to come.

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