The Q&A Archives: How to Stake Trees

Question: How do you properly stake/ support new trees? I have read that staking is good and bad. I need to stake/ support Redwoods that stand aprox. 4 ft right now.

Answer: What you've read is true; trees that are allowed to sway with the breeze usually develop a more extensive anchoring system as the roots spread out. If it were my tree, I'd remove the wooden stake that's normally included when you purchase a tree and stake the tree properly to help it grow upright. Here's how: You'll need 3 stakes (metal or wood, about 10-12" long) and some wire. You'll also want some rubber tubing (available at Home Depot) or a few lengths of old garden hose to string over the wire to protect the bark of your tree. Pound the stakes into the ground, each 4-6' from the trunk of the tree, in a triangle around the tree. Each of the stakes will be individually attached to the trunk with the protected wire so the stakes should be equal distances from each other. Attach the wire firmly to the stake, wrap it around the trunk 3-4' from the ground (be sure the tubing is situated so it keeps the wire from digging into the bark), then take it back to the stake, wrap it around the stake and then wrap the end of the wire around the first wire (the one that's pulled tense up toward the tree trunk). Do this with all three stakes, making sure there's equal tension on all wires and that they are firmly attached but not so tight as to pull the tree in any single direction. There should be a little play in the wires, so the tree can move a bit, but not too much play. Be sure to check the loops around the trunk every month or so and loosen when necessary so they won't make marks in the bark. Stakes can be left in the ground for a year or two. After that trees should be established enough that they won't require staking.

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