Many of us that have planted a new tree often use some sort of guiding wire, or stake to keep the tree upright during it’s establishment period. This can help the tree grow strong, straight, and beautiful, but there are some potential hazards if you do not monitor your trees.
Often times garden centers and local nurseries can help you when it comes to choosing materials. Some garden centers will have pre made kits with all the parts you need. These kits will include some guide wire, old hose for cushioning, and a few stakes.
How To Stake a Tree
There are a few ways to stake a tree and it is often a mater of preference, but the concept is the same.
- In some cases (larger trees) wooden stakes (3) are pounded into the ground surrounding the tree. Each stake has a hole drilled in it, from which the guide wire is strung through. The wire is then run up to the crown of the tree. This is where the first branches begin to emerge. The wire should be wrapped around the tree with a piece of old hose, or burlap, or some sort of cushion. THE WIRE SHOULD NOT COME IN CONTACT WITH THE TREE! Once all of the wires are connected to the stakes and wrapped around the crown, they should be tightened. This should be snug, but not a choke hold.
- Some people prefer to you use 1 longer stake (for smaller trees) that is pounded into the ground at an angle near the trunk of the tree. This stake is then attached with wire and hose to the tree. Both methods are acceptable as long as the tree is anchored.
The number one problem with staking trees is that they are forgotten. Tree staking is generally something that should only be on the tree for 2-4 years. Stakes need to be monitored. If all is going as planned, your tree is growing, and as it grows the wire becomes tighter. Sort of like that old dress shirt that fit you in 4th grade, but if you had it on now it would be a bit uncomfortable. Your tree will feel the same strangling feeling. After the tree has had a chance to establish a root system, staking trees becomes unnecessary.
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Author: Andrew Muntz received his Master’s of Science in Turfgrass science and his Bachelors of Science in Landscape Horticulture at The Ohio State University, Columbus OH.