7. Staking of trees

Most quality advanced trees should not need stakes to keep the trunk upright. This can be varied based upon species selection. If stakes are required to stop the trunk from bending towards the ground, you may need to consider not planting that tree. Often there is a requirement to protect trees from vehicles, mowers, animals etc. If staking, make sure they are driven into the ground outside the root ball. If the trees must be connected to stakes for support for example in very windy conditions, the ties must be loose to allow trunk movement, as this is essential to stimulate caliper growth and correct trunk taper (Figure 8).

A tree with a large, dense canopy often requires staking until all roots can grow to sufficient length and density to anchor it. (Ed Gilman 1997). Customers must be aware that even slight movement can break the new fibrous roots and slow the tree establishment.

If trees are staked they must be check regularly to make sure ties are not too tight or that stakes are not rubbing on the tree. In most instances stakes that are used for anchoring should be removed after approximately one year (Figure 8).

Depending on size, 2 to 3 stakes should be used per tree. Mt William Advanced Tree Nursery advises to drive stakes in on an angle and per (Figure 8) and well outside the root ball and into the undisturbed ground, this will prevent the stakes working in towards the trunk and causing damage. Avoid using any tie which is too tight, as this may cause trunk damage and or not allow for trunk expansion.

If you do stake your tree please remember to stake only until it is able to stand on its own. If it is too dependent on supports, the trunk will not develop adequate strength. The staking material should not be too tight. Leave loose enough so some natural movement occurs.

figure8 w Figure 8 Staking trees using Hessian.