The new tree you planted is counting on you for proper water, sunlight and nutrients – and it needs a few other elements to succeed as well.
A bit of pruning early on can help your tree establish a good shape. And your new tree may need 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 methods and how long to keep a tree staked.
What You Need To Know About Staking New Trees
While it seems like young trees need extra support, most trees don’t need to be staked. Staking trees for too long that don’t need it can cause the tree to grow fewer roots and develop a weak root system.
Only stake your tree if it needs extra support, or help to stay anchored.
Should You Stake Your New Tree?
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 may not have to stake evergreens, conifers or trees that have branches growing lower to the ground.
- Bare-root trees or trees with a small root ball.
- Trees planted in areas with lots of foot traffic, like a sidewalk or street.
- New trees that can’t stand on their own or those that begin to lean.
- Eucalyptus trees, Oleander trees, Hibiscus trees, and Acacia trees.
- Tall, top-heavy trees with no lower branches.
- Young trees if you live in a very windy area or if the soil is usually wet, sandy or loose.
If Your New Tree Needs Staking, Here’s How To Stake It For Support.
- Remove the nursery stakes, and find two or three stakes (wooden or metal). Place your hand on the trunk and rock back and forth to see how sturdy the tree is in the ground. Check for prevailing wind direction and install stakes to secure against prevailing winds causing tree to lean.
- Place the two stakes opposite each other and at minimum 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.
How Long Should You Keep A Tree Staked?
Generally, remove the stakes the next growing season, only if the tree feels anchored. If you add stakes in spring, remove in fall, if anchored properly. If you stake in fall, remove in spring, if anchored properly. Otherwise, the tree will depend on the stakes and won’t stand on its own.
Remember to never use wire as strapping material, if a tree on your property has been strapped using wire, remove it immediately and replace with canvas strapping or biodegradable strapping material. Using wireswill eventually cut off the flow of water and nutrients.