Staking New Trees in the Landscape
When planting fifteen-gallon trees or larger, it is recommended to properly stake them during the installation process. Staking provides a young tree with the support it needs until its trunk is strong enough to hold its canopy upright.
Some trees with strong trunks are thicker near the ground and then taper up. These trees usually do not need to be staked. However, trees that do not develop a normal, thick taper may fall over when the original stakes from a planting container are removed. These plants need to be properly staked after they are set in the ground. Careful attention must be paid to the way a tree is staked. Improper staking can weaken a tree and cause serious damage and deformity later on.
By leaving a young tree to move freely in the wind, it develops a healthier root system and a stronger, more tapered trunk. For example, mesquite trees tend to have shallow root systems as young trees and may fall over in a summer monsoon. Sweet acacia trees might do the same. It is always a good idea to double-stake trees at planting if they cannot stand strongly in a swift wind.
To properly stake a tree, locate a strong stable point just above the middle of the trunk where you can hold the tree with one hand wrapped around it. Then, wrap black rubber hosing around that part of the plant, and place a piece of wire though the hose. Using hose around the trunk protects the plant from girdling. Attach wire to each stake set in the ground on opposite sides of the tree. Drive these stakes vertically at least two feet into the ground. Try to drive the stakes so they are the same height above the ground. When completed correctly, the stakes should stand upright about four to six inches tall. The tree should stand stable at that point. Check stakes periodically for any girdling of the trees and stability. One year after planting, remove the stakes. The tree should have become established and stable enough to grow on its own. If you leave the supports in place for long periods of time, you will stifle the tree’s growth.
The following staking materials are needed in order to properly stake trees.
- Lodge pole pine stakes that are approximately two inches in diameter
- 5/8-inch rubber hose
- Twelve gauge plastic coated wire
- A mallet to drive the stakes into the ground
- A wire cutter
When all plants are installed according to your landscape planting plan, and the grounds are raked free of rocks and debris, then it’s time to irrigate.