Most young trees with thin trunks or transplanted trees need to be tied to stakes in the ground that allow them to grow steadily while their roots grow deeper. For residents who have trees supported by stakes, it may be time to remove or reset them! While staking is never done with an intention to harm a tree, keeping stakes around the trunk for too long can permanently damage or even kill a tree over time. Here’s an example of how staking materials can endanger and permanently scar a tree.

Trees that are improperly staked will certainly grow taller, but their trunks’ growth will be restricted. This can result in weaknesses that trees cannot naturally overcome during stressful weather. Stakes prevent the “wind-bending exercises” trees need to make their trunks more flexible with firmer roots.

Here are four general tips for keeping your trees healthy:

  1. If trees must be staked, place the stakes as low as possible. Use flexible materials to tie trees to the stakes.
  2. Remove all staking material after tree roots are fully established. This can be as early as a few months but no more than one growing season.
  3. Remove the wire from around branches. Trees will grow around the wires, which can cut off the flow of water and nutrients.
  4. Remove nursery staking materials when transplanting.

Properly Staked Tree