Staking is a common practice used by gardeners, landscapers, and even residential homeowners to help ensure that trees grow up healthy and able to support themselves without toppling over in high winds. As useful as the practice can be, it’s important to make sure that staking is only done when it’s actually beneficial to the tree in question. Luckily, there are a few common and clear signs that a tree would benefit from staking.
If a tree is tall for the size of its root ball, then the odds are low that the trunk will be able to provide adequate support unless it’s allowed to grow and strengthen with external support. Young trees with small root balls and a thick crown of leaves with benefit the most from staking as they’re more likely to be toppled over in high winds or to develop a crowbar hole. These holes occur when harsh wind causes the root ball and bottom of the trunk to move along with the tree’s crown, eroding the surrounding soil. This creates a pocket where water can collect and cause rot.
Staking is also useful for protecting trees. If a tree is from a species that is sensitive to soil compaction, like sugar maples or white oak, a ring of stakes or mulch around the base of the tree will make it clear to people that they shouldn’t be walking so close. Stakes can also be used to prevent lawn equipment like mowers from hitting the trunks and removing the bark, potentially exposing the tree to a higher risk of infection or infestation by insects.
With very few exceptions, stakes are intended to be a temporary support measure. If you can shake the tree and see movement at the base, the stakes need to remain in place. Otherwise, it’s time to remove them and allow the tree to strengthen and grow without artificial support.
If you’re in North Central Texas and are looking for quality, organically-grown trees at competitive prices, contact us at Chambersville Tree Farm. Our growing operation is wholesale to the trade and open to the public for retail sales.