Nurseries generally sell trees with a tall, narrow stake tied tightly to the tree. The stake makes the tree look more appealing. (Who wants a drooping tree?) Many people do not know these stakes must be removed when planting the tree.
Areas of Interest: Looking Around, Networking, Teaching
Ingredients: Scissors, hand saw, good pair of eyes
We generally place two larger stakes on either side of the tree and attach ties to help the young tree stand straight. The tree should not be staked longer than necessary. A tree will grow much stronger when allowed to move freely. Usually staking the tree for one year is sufficient time for a strong trunk to grow.
Directions: If you come across a tree with a nursery stake attached, consider removing it immediately or talk with the owner about its removal. Be sure tree stakes are available for support if it does not stand without the nursery stake. Simply cut the plastic ties and pull it out. If it is firmly lodged in the roots, use a handsaw to carefully cut it close to the ground.
Look for staked trees that seem over a year old or generally capable of standing on their own. Cut or remove the ties and observe the tree. If it cannot stand straight, then re-tie it to the stakes.1 If it stands proudly, pull out the tree stakes.
Create a campaign to identify area trees unnecessarily tied to stakes. Educate local businesses, landscapers and developers about stake removal.