Laidback Garden Tip of the Day

Do You Really Need to Stake a Tree?

octobre 3The tradition has it that it is important to stake all newly-planted trees and conifers to keep them upright, but in reality, staking a tree is not particularly good for it. A tree trunk needs to move in the wind, because that is what allows it to develop normally. In fact, it is the movement of the trunk in the wind that makes it become thick and sturdy (regularly swaying back and forth causes tiny injuries that fill with more solid tissues, giving a thicker and stronger trunk). A trunk that does not move or does not move enough will remain thin and weak and may actually snap when the stake is removed. So reserve staking for special situations where either the young tree really doesn’t seem strong enough to stand on its own or spots that are extremely windy. And even then, stake quite loosely (not like in the illustration) so the trunk can still move a bit… and remove the stake after a year at most. In most cases, though, it really isn’t necessary to stake a young tree.

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

2 comments on “Laidback Garden Tip of the Day

  1. Interesting. So it’s like bones and muscle in the human body. Don’t use them and lose ‘um. Never thought of it that way but it follows a logical path.

    • Excellent allusion. And you’ll find that – as illogical as that may seem – trees exposed to wind on a regular basis will have the strongest trunk of all.

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