How to Stake a Tree
A lot of new trees will need staking to help them get through the winter and summer winds of Kansas. The main thing you’ll want to remember when staking is to leave it on for less than a year. By then, the root system will be developed. If you leave them on too long, the roots can girdle the tree and cause problems.
Depending on the season of the year, you’ll want to put the into the main prevailing wind. In Kansas, the prevailing wind during the winter months is from the north to northeast. So, the stake should face north. When you’re orienting it with the tree, you should have the stake tied up about twelve to eighteen inches high. And, the stake should be driven into the ground about twelve to eighteen inches into the ground to make sure that it’s firm.
The main goal of staking is not to hold the tree stiff, but allow it enough support so that when the tree is blowing in the wind, it doesn’t wiggle the rootball and break up the roots. If you provide too much support, the tree will become dependent upon the stake. And it may not form the necessary roots to keep the tree stable.
You’ll need to hold the branches away from the stake, so that you don’t crush any branches when swinging the sledgehammer. So, Cheryl will hold them back for this demonstration.
Many people use a piece of hose and a heavy guage wire. It should be heavy enough to withstand the wind. The hose protects the tree trunk from scarring from the wire and from the stake. It should be twisted several times before you go around the stake. The wire and hose will keep the stake away from the tree. Then, wrap the wire around the stake. Remember to remove the stake within a year so that it doesn’t become dependent on the stake.
This feature story prepared with Josh Pool, Kansas State University, Horticulture Graduate Student. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.