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Not all trees need staking. In fact, unless the tree is being planted in
certain conditions, the tree is probably better off without a stake. Research
indicates that trees in normal conditions that are left unstaked have trunks
that are stronger than their staked counterparts.
However, if your tree is in a windy site, is top-heavy, is a large evergreen, is bareroot, or is in a location where it may otherwise get knocked over by rambunctious children or vehicles, you need to stake it.
There are various methods of staking, but it's important not to put anything against a young tree's tender bark that would rub or otherwise damage it, inviting disease. And with any stakes, remove them after one or two years.
It will take less than a half-hour to stake a tree.
Hoses, wires, and other tight, hard materials constrict growth. Therefore, you should use 3-inch webbing or polyethylene strips twisted loosely at their midpoint once around the tree and then attached to the stake with staples. These soft materials grow and move with the tree and allow some swaying, which encourages the tree to grow stronger roots.
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, placed on the windward side, but you can use more if desired. Larger trees should be staked in two or three directions.
Drive the stakes deeply enough into the ground so that they will hold even in a high wind -- about 18 inches. However, in high traffic areas or areas where children will play, position their tops high enough so that no one will trip over the webbing and fall onto a stake -- 3 feet or higher.
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