I’d be surprised to hear that any serious gardener has never seen a tree attached to its stake by a tie made from a length of recycled garden hose. One where the tree planter slipped a metal cable or a nylon rope through a short length of garden hose to wrap around the trunk.
Such a system is so common that it’s practically ubiquitous. If you have any doubt, check out what social media and other online media information sources (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.) suggest you do to recycle an old garden hose. 10 to 1, the very first suggestion they make is to use lengths of it to make tree ties. And yet that information is totally wrong!
A Stake Tie Made From Garden Hose: Why Not?
Still, it seems like a logical thing to do. After all, won’t the hose prevent the rough cable or rope from rubbing directly against the trunk? Clearly. And you’d think that would be enough. But since a hose is tubular, in fact, only a thin section of it actually touches the trunk directly… exactly as with a cable or rope. Therefore, there can easily be harmful friction not to mention constant pressure on the bark that can end up by cutting off much of the circulation of the sap through the tree. Not a good start!
In addition, the hose tends to bend in half over time as it hardens, squeezing the trunk in the process. Thus, it will put pressure on the sides of the trunk as well.
In other words, this effort to reuse an old garden hose simply does more harm than good. And that’s to be expected: a garden hose is made for watering; it was never designed for staking!
A Flat Tree Tie Will Do
If you feel that your newly planted tree needs staking (which is very rarely the case: read Do Trees Really Need Staking? to learn more on the subject), use a real tree tie to support it instead. You’ll find there is a wide range of ties on the market that can be used to attach a tree to its stake: plastic, metal covered with plastic, rubber, etc. And they do it safely, with no harm to the tree.
But regardless of their composition, the best ties are those that are flat and wide, but still flexible, like a belt. Thus, a large surface actually touches the trunk and there is no risk of a narrow section cutting into the bark.