The new tree you planted is counting on you for enough water, sunlight and nutrients – and it needs a few other elements to succeed, too.
A bit of pruning early on can help your tree establish a good shape. And your new tree may need a bit of literal support, like a stake.
Though, not all young trees need to be staked. Read on to see if you should stake a new tree. If so, learn some staking trees methods and how long to keep a tree staked.
While it seems like young trees need extra support, most trees don’t need to be staked. Staking trees that don’t need it can cause the tree to grow fewer roots and develop a weak tree base.
Only stake your tree if it needs extra support, protection or help staying anchored.
If you properly planted a healthy tree with a sturdy trunk and solid root system, chances are you won’t have to stake it. You also don’t have to stake evergreens, conifers or trees that have branches growing lower to the ground. There are times when you should stake trees, though.
Remove the nursery stakes, and find two or three stakes (wooden or metal). Place your hand on the trunk and see where it needs to be steadied. That’s how tall your stakes should be.
Place the two stakes opposite each other and about 1.5’ away from the trunk. Use the third stake only if needed and put on an open side of the tree.
Use a soft material, like canvas strapping or tree staking straps, to attach the stakes. Allow enough slack, so the tree can naturally sway. Don’t use rope or wire, which damages the trunk.
Generally, remove the stake the next growing season. If you add a stake in spring, remove in fall. If you stake in fall, remove in spring. Otherwise, the tree will depend on the stake and won’t stand on its own.
Also, make sure you always remove the wire around the branches! The tree can eventually grow around the wires, which could potentially cut off the flow of water and nutrients.