What is this about?
Do I need to stake trees?
- Staking is a technique used to protect, anchor, and support recently
When is staking recommended?
- Not usually. Most young trees can stand unsupported, and will
be stronger without stakes.
- Staking actually delays the creation of a strong tree.
- Trunk movement signals the lower trunk and roots to produce increased
growth. A better trunk taper and root system results.
- Research shows that bare-root trees can stand unstaked as well
as B&B or containerized ones.
Damage caused by wire-in-hose staking left on
- There are certain situations where staking can be advisable:
- high wind conditions
- very weak trunk
- high population pressure
What are the potential drawbacks of staking?
What are the current recommendations?
- Poor trunk development at the base of the tree.
- Increased trunk caliper near the support ties, which produces a
negative trunk taper and restricts the vascular tissue conducting water,
nutrients, and sugars.
- Wounding or girdling from ties too tight against the trunk, especially
when they are left on too long..
- concentrated pressure from narrow ties (e.g. elastic webbing, wire,
or even wire through a hose) will crush or cut through the bark.
- More wind throw and wind damage later, particularly when the tree
is staked rigidly.
- most susceptible are shallow-rooted evergreens and trees with a
Where can I get more information?
- Don’t stake if you don’t have to.
- Consider alternative methods of staking.
- Remove stakes and ties within 1 year, or use degradable materials.
- Use flexible ties with a broad, smooth surface.
- If vandalism is a consideration: instead of staking, try
planting larger caliper trees, or encircling the tree with heavy posts, wire,
or metal grill work.
- If protecting from mowers and foot traffic: sink three 4'
stakes halfway into the ground, 15" or so from the tree, and run a line
between them to make a triangle.
- If follow-up maintenance within 1 year is unlikely: use
2" x 2" pine stakes, and UV degradable ties. The stakes and ties will fall
off by themselves.
- If staking because the trunk is too weak: place the ties
6" above the lowest point where, when you hold the trunk, the top will still
return upright after being bent to the side.
Ed Gillman, "Tree Staking
Systems." For other information, advice and help on this topic,
call offices of your State Urban Forestry Coordinator or University Extension
service, or visit urban forestry web sites.