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How to Properly Stake a Tree

Knowing how to properly stake a tree is one of the most important things you can do to help your tree thrive, especially during its first few years. But what's the right way? Here are some tips that will help you stake your new trees like a pro!


  • What does "tree staking" mean?

  • When should you stake a tree?

  • When should you not stake a tree?

  • What is the best way to stake a tree?

  • When should I remove the stake from the tree?

  • Tree Installation Service in Waco, Texas

What does "tree staking" mean?

“Tree staking” is exactly what the term says: it means using stakes, such as wooden or metal poles (or sometimes, an adjacent tree), to provide a newly-transplanted or damaged tree some stability and help it grow straight.

Staking is done by binding the tree to a stake, or stakes, erected next to it, preferably using some flexible and gentle tying material so as not to damage the bark and underlying cambium of the tree. The idea is that the stakes will help hold up the tree as its roots grow deeper into the soil and its trunk thickens.

Tree staking is also a good way to keep trees from blowing over in strong winds. Hence, even older trees can benefit from added support, especially if the tree has already been previously damaged after a heavy storm.

Nevertheless, despite its obvious benefit, incorrect tree staking can also cause more harm than good to trees. This is the reason why it is usually a job that’s reserved for arborists or professionals offering tree services.

When should you stake a tree?

In essence, staking a tree is a way of supporting the tree until it is strong enough to support itself. Staking may be required if:

  • The soil is heavy, clay-like, or compacted, making it difficult for the roots to anchor into the ground;

  • The tree has been planted in an open area that experiences high winds or frequent storms.

  • The tree has been planted in an area where soil erosion can occur due to poor drainage or excessive rainfall;

  • If the roots are exposed due to erosion, staking would be a good idea.

When should you not stake a tree?

If a tree is well-established and healthy, it generally doesn't need to be staked. In fact, if you stake a tree that doesn’t need it, the tree may become dependent on the stake, which is not good for the tree.

So when should you not stake a tree? Experts say that if you want to know whether your tree needs staking or not, just look at its trunk. If the trunk has been damaged or broken during a storm, or if the tree is obviously leaning, do use stakes to provide support. Otherwise you should let nature take its course.

If you have any doubts about whether your tree needs staking or not, contact an arborist or professional tree service provider. They will be able to tell you whether or not your tree needs support and how much support it needs.

What is the best way to stake a tree?

The best way to stake a tree is to use the minimum number of stakes needed to keep it in place. Using too many stakes can crowd the roots and prevent them from growing properly. It’s also helpful to use stakes that are long enough to penetrate adequately into the ground, but not so long that they push up against the trunk of the tree and damage it.

A well-staked tree should be able to move into place within the stakes. In other words, you want to allow some slack in your stakes so that they can move with the tree. You don't want them to be tight enough to hold the tree rigidly in place.

You should also make sure that your stakes are straight and vertical. If they lean at all, the tree will lean with them, and they won't be able to support it properly. Also, make sure that there is no tension on the material used to bind the tree to the stake, as too much tension will cause the tying material to cut into the bark and damage the tree’s critical cambium layer.

Do note that improper staking can cause irreparable damage to your tree. If you are unsure about how to properly stake your tree or what materials are best for the job, seek advice from a professional arborist or a local tree service company near you.

When should I remove the stake from the tree?

A tree stake is meant to be temporary and should be removed once the tree has grown strong enough so as not to require external support. When this happens depends on many factors.

Generally, however, trees should be staked until they are well established (usually after one year) and then gradually remove the stakes while noting the stability of the tree without the stakes in place. Staking can continue for up to two years after planting, depending on the species, growth habit and your climate zone.

If you leave the stake in place for too long, it can become a permanent part of the tree. The tree will eventually bind itself around the stake, and you may never be able to remove it without causing damage to your tree. Leaving a stake for far too long will also make the tree dependent on staking for support, which can weaken the tree and make it more susceptible to damage from storms or other causes.

If you have concerns about tree staking, you can contact a certified arborist for advice. They will be able to tell you if staking is necessary, how long it should be left in place, and what type of stakes are best suited for the job.

Tree Installation Service in Waco, Texas

3rd Day Tree Service is a local tree care company led by an ISA-certified arborist. We serve Waco, Robinson, Woodway and Hewitt—and other nearby areas in Central Texas.

We can take care of your tree staking/installation needs, as well as help you decide whether or not your trees need staking at all. If you’re not sure about any aspect of tree care, contact us for advice or schedule an appointment for an assessment. We also offer other tree services, including tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, soil injection, and cabling.

If you want to learn more about the services we offer, please call us at (214) 497-6226.

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