Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to grow some plant species in containers without staking them when they are young. The staking technique used is detrimental to the health of the plant after it is planted in to the garden. A properly staked plant will allow movement of the main trunk(s). This movement encourages the plant to develop thicker, self-supporting trunk(s) more quickly and in a more healthy manner than one that is staked tightly. We strongly advise that any shrub or tree you purchase, which has been grown on a stake, be re-staked at the time of planting.
Proper Steps to Staking
- Once your plant is properly planted, hammer in two stakes, one on each side of the tree just outside of the root ball of the plant. The placement of the stakes should be aligned parallel to the direction of any prevailing winds and be driven into the undisturbed soil below the planting hole. The two stakes and the trunk should be aligned in a straight line.
- Prepare your rubber ties by attaching wire to their ends. Be sure the wires are long enough to reach and wrap around the stakes.
- Remove the stake that came on the plant. The plant may need you to support the head if the trunk wants to bend or lay down.
- Grab the tree 25-30% of the way up the trunk and slide your hand up until you find a balancing point for the head of the tree. At this spot, loop the first tie around the trunk and tie it to one stake. Ideally this will be at or below the mid-point of the trunk. Some slack, 1-2 inches, should be left in the wire to allow movement of the tree.
- Loop the second tie through the first and around the trunk. This will inter-lock the ties and prevent them from sliding down. Attach the wire to the second stake, leave the same amount of slack as that which was left in the first wire.
- Remove the stake and ties when the plant is established and able to stand on its own, typically in 6-8 months. In some instances, 1-2 years staking may be required for proper trunk development. If the stakes remain for more than 6 months, remove and reposition the ties either a bit further up or down the trunk to avoid causing damage to the bark of the tree.