Staking

Here in the Truckee Meadows wind is always a problem for newly-planted trees. The use of properly placed stakes and the right tie material are a help in getting new trees successfully planted.

The nursery stake, attached directly to the tree trunk, should always be removed before planting.

When stakes are improperly installed or left on too long, they can cause problems. Trees should not be rigidly staked. It is best if the root ball can move a little as it will allow the root system to get better established. Trees that have been rigidly staked for more than 6 months will not develop taper and the ability to stand upright.

Trees with branches near the ground do not require staking as they are short and have root balls large enough to hold the tops upright.

How Do I Install Stakes and Ties?
Stakes should be installed in line with prevailing winds and outside the planting hole, if possible, so they are anchored in native soil. If stakes are installed in the planting hole, drive them at least 12 inches deeper than the root ball.

Stakes should be placed so they don’t rub on branches.

Ties should be made of a soft material that will not harm the trunk. There are several products available for tying trees including ties made from rubber.

Do Stakes Require Maintenance?
As the tree grows, the ties will begin to girdle the trunk and block the flow of water and nutrients. Check ties every month or two to make sure they remain loose. Because branches may grow into the stakes and rub against them, move the stakes or prune the branch to encourage growth away from the stake.

When Can I Remove the Stakes?
Normally it takes about one growing season for a tree’s root system to become established enough to anchor the tree in the ground. To check if your tree is ready to have its stakes removed, simply loosen the ties and see if the tree will stand unaided.

Carefully remove the stakes and ties. Stakes can be pulled from the ground using a twisting motion. If a stake doesn’t release easily, try soaking the area with water.