The Q&A Archives: Tree staked to long.

Question: We moved into a house where they had a new tree in the back that was staked. I started getting into gardening and read you should never stake a tree. We removed the stakes and sure enough the tree can not stand on it's own. I'm guessing the top of the tree is nine to ten foot at the most. Is there anyway we can save the tree. We have room to transplant the tree if that is necessary but would it work?

Answer: Never is a pretty strong word! Some trees are naturally spindly and pliable in youth and need to be supported until the wood in the trunk hardens. Staking is perfectly acceptable, as long as you stake on 3 sides and use soft ties (such as old nylon pantyhose). You'll want to run 3 separate ties (one to each stake) to hold the tree upright, but still provide room for it to sway in the breeze. This swaying movement is what strengthens the roots and helps the tree anchor itself into the ground. Rather than transplanting the tree, try staking on all three sides. In another year the trunk should be strong enough to stand upright all on its own. Best wishes with your new landscape!

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