After performing our quarterly follow-up tree care for residents throughout Maricopa County, one thing we noticed was that many people had chosen to stake their tree. Some people said the wind was too strong for the tree or as their tree grew, it leaned too much to one side. Although staking is generally discouraged, we realize the need to stake so we thought we’d explain the proper way to stake a tree.
First of all, why is staking discouraged? Because it is important that saplings develop a strong root system early on, as this will be the muscle of the tree and help it grow into a strong, well-rooted tree. Additionally, if a sapling is staked for too long, the trunk will not taper properly and will not be able to support itself. Sometimes staking is necessary but ideally it should be used for only the first 3-6 months and at most, a year.
The best way to stake a tree is to place two stakes at opposing sides of the tree (avoid using just one stake if possible). The stakes should be driven into the ground about 12-18 inches deep (make sure you don’t place the stakes through the root ball of the tree) and when applicable, placed into the direction of the prevailing wind. You can also do a 3-stake triangle arrangement for trees needing more support (pictured left).
When securing the tree to the stake, it is very important that you secure it LOOSELY so that the tree is still able to move. It’s the movement of the tree that develops a strong root system. You can use a wire and hose to secure the tree to the stake or even something like an old cloth. Whatever is wrapped around the tree needs to be soft, pliable material so the tree doesn’t get scratched/damaged.
Remember, staking is only temporary. If you have other questions or tips about staking, feel free to post in our forums under the Shade Trees category!
Staking Powerpoint presentation by Kirkwood Community College
Youtube videos on how to stake a tree:
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