Keep young trees growing strong by staking them
If your new tree is top-heavy or frail enough to get knocked over, you should stake it until it’s strong enough to support its own weight. This guide will teach you how to determine if your tree needs staking, and how to do so.
Tip: Not every new tree needs staking. Research indicates that unstaked trees under normal conditions have trunks that are stronger than their staked counterparts, so double check that staking your tree would be beneficial rather than harmful.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS PROJECT
There are various methods of staking, but it is important not to put anything against the young tree's tender bark that would rub or otherwise damage it, as this may invite disease. Stakes should be removed after one or two years.
• Use 3-inch webbing or polyethylene strips twisted loosely at their midpoint around the tree and then attach to the stake with staples.
• These soft materials give and move with the tree while allowing some sway and encourage the tree to grow stronger roots.
• Do not use hoses, wires or any other hard, tight material that constricts growth.
The number of stakes is determined by the size of the tree.
• A tree with a trunk 3 inches or less in diameter needs just one stake which is placed on the windward side; you can use more if desired.
• Larger trees should be staked with two or three stakes in opposing directions.
• Drive the stakes into the ground so they will hold even in the event of high winds – about 18 inches deep.
• In high-traffic areas or areas where children will play, position the tops of the stakes high enough so that no one will trip over the webbing and fall onto a stake – at least 3 feet or higher above ground.