Top-heavy trees require extra help for about a year until the roots are fully developed and the tree can stand on its own.
Sometimes it’s unclear whether you should stake a young tree. Knowing when and how to properly stake trees is the best way to ensure proper growth.
When Is Staking Necessary?
Most trees sold at the nursery are kept in containers for easy shipping and transport, so their root systems do not have the benefit of a full spread to balance the branches at its top. A stake is often sold with the tree to give it stability until it can be properly planted and the roots established in its new home.
The best way to tell if a tree will need to be staked is to remove the nursery stake and see if it stands upright on its own. If it does, staking is probably unnecessary. If it tips or appears top heavy, it should be staked. Usually, if a tree is sold with a root ball it will be bottom heavy enough to stand upright on its own.
If you purchased a bare root tree, it may not be able to stand completely on its own, and staking can be helpful. Staking is also useful if you are in a high wind area. Some wind is good for young trees (it strengthens the trunk), but not when it is excessive or if the soil is thin or shallow.
How to Properly Stake a Tree
To stake a young tree, you can use two or three stakes and rubber ties. Place the stakes perpendicular to the prevailing winds and drive them six inches into the ground, outside of the root area. When tying the tree, make sure it can move slightly in the wind and that the ties are neither too tight (which deforms the trunk) nor too loose (which rubs and damages the bark). Monitor the tree closely for signs of trunk damage, and remove the stake at the beginning of the second growing season.
At Caledon Treeland, we carry a wide selection of young trees and supplies like ties and stakes. We can plant your trees for your as well, and providing staking services. As your trees mature, we’ll do regular maintenance and pruning. Give us a call at (905) 880-1828.