Posted by Eric Hammond Adams County Extension
While walking my dog around my neighborhood in between blizzards I have noticed some very um…..artistic methods being used to stake recently transplanted (and not so recently transplanted) trees (please note I’m not endorsing any of these methods).
|A stately cape-like staking pattern. This is a well established tree, does it need the support?|
|A clump planting of Aspens staked as a group. The plants are already being pulled inward by the straps.|
|A resourceful approach which shares stakes between trees. However, the plants are staked so tightly the guideline could also serve as a fence.|
|A single stake very close to the tree. This can cause |
the growth of the tree to curve away from the stake.
How Staking Impacts a Tree:
Staking has a number of effects on trees. Some of these are related to the growth of the staked tree others are related to actual physical damage caused by incorrect staking methods. The natural swaying of trees in the wind promotes growth in areas that help the plant withstand wind; mainly it promotes an increase in root growth and an increase in caliper (trunk diameter). Conversely, when a tree is staked it may have less root and caliper growth and instead grow taller. Plants that are staked tightly can even develop an abnormal taper to their trunks. In this scenario, a tree moves in the wind above straps stimulating caliper growth in the upper portion of the trunk while tight straps prevent any growth-stimulating movement in the lower part of the trunk.
|A small tree staked tightly and then supported with a metal stake. |
Very secure but will it develop normal trunk taper?
If a tree does need to be staked, it should be staked loosely enough to allow some movement in the wind. Nylon straps are preferable to other materials. It is extremely important to remove stakes once a tree no longer needs them as the straps can girdle the plants trunk. For trees smaller than 2” in caliper this is normally one to two seasons.
Spring is a great time to plant trees (and I’m sure at some point spring will come to the Front Range) just remember- Think before you stake.