Tree Planting 101: Part 7 – Staking

An arborist will help determine if tree staking methods should be implemented on the tree during the planting process.  Several factors determine if tree staking is the right fit and staking might not be appropriate for all tree types.

Tree staking factors:

  • If the tree is in a windy area, they we might consider adding stakes as support in order to keep it upright
  • Trees in a protected back yard will have less wind exposure so staking might not be necessary
  • If stakes and straps are used – we should use a flat and flexible strapping material around the trunk of the tree.  Using a wire or rubber hose might damage the tender bark of the tree.
  • If staking, drive a stake near the center point of where the tree’s root system will be planted.  Before planting the tree, drive the stake into the ground and place several inches from the tree – but make sure it does not actually touch the tree.
  • Drive in a wooden stake an an angle for container-grown or balled-and-burlapped trees.  The stake should be pointed in the direction of the prevailing wind.  Use a vertical stake for bare-root trees.
  • Tie the tree to the stake using a tree tie, about one third of the way up the trunk – leave space between the stake and the trunk.
  • Leave stakes in the ground for 18 months after planting, and then remove carefully to avoid disturbing the roots.
  • To tie the tree to its stake, use a rubber tube or belt for small trees, and a plastic buckle tie for larger trees.
  • Ties should not be too tight or they might restrict the growth of stems.  Similarly, if they’re too loose – the stems might rub against the tie or stake – causing damage to the tree.  The ties should be relaxed from time to time so that they do not restrict growth.  Tighten any that become too loose.