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How to Stake a Tree Like a Pro

If you have attempted to stake a tree for the first time, you may have discovered there is more to this seemingly simple task than you might think!
Here is your go-to guide to staking like a pro.
Matthew Strachan
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With the cooler days upon us, the planting season is in full swing and tree stakes are in high demand. If you have ever attempted to stake a tree yourself for the first time, you may have discovered there is more to this seemingly simple task than you would think! Our customers often ask us for tips on choosing the right stakes and installing them correctly. If you’re wondering the same, this article is for you.
 

Why stake a tree?

When planting trees, it is important to stake them particularly if they are in an exposed place or they are a large grade tree which will require some stabilization. Staking the tree holds it straight and tall and keeps the root ball in place. Without stakes, the tree may be bent or blown over by the wind.

Which stake do I choose? Options & Comparisons

There are lots of options out there, but choosing the best stake for your tree is important. The 3 main types of tree stakes are Hardwood Stakes, Untreated Pine Stakes and Treated Pine Stakes, and these come in a variety of widths and lengths. Below is a guide of which stakes we would recommend depending on your planting project. This is not the ‘Rules’ but simply a ‘Guide’ if you are not sure where to start.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT LENGTH

Tree Type

Recommended width

Recommended Length

Comments

Larger Trees

Minimum 50x50mm

1.8m or 2.4m

For extra large trees, consider using three stakes in a triangle formation.

General Landscaping Trees

40x40mm or 50x50mm

1.8m

This is a good size for most landscape trees, giving plenty of length so you can get a good depth into the ground.

Smaller Trees / Fruit Trees

25x25mm or 40x40mm

1.2m or 1.5m

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE

Stake Type

Comments

Untreated Pine Stakes

A cost-effective option that will last 12-18 months, great for if you only need to stake temporarily until the tree is established.

Treated Pine Stakes

A long-term option for if staking is required for several years (e.g. in exposed environments). The CCA treatment is known to leach into the soil, so these stakes are not be suitable for fruit trees.

Hardwood Stakes

A natural alternative to treated stakes, offering longevity and strength. Their lifespan is around 5-10 years, depending on conditions. They are an eco-friendly option for those concerned about the use of CCA treated stakes and are suitable for use with fruit trees.

There are also other stake types for smaller plants including bamboo, plastic-coated steel stakes and Y-Posts, however timber stakes are the most popular for trees. 

How to do it
Tools

Firstly, you will need the correct tools and stakes. You will need:

  • At least 2 stakes
  • A sledge hammer or stake rammer
  • Some soft tree tie – we recommend either jute tree tie webbing (code: 21483), or for high wind areas elastic tree tie webbing (code: 21485)
  • A staple gun or some small nails
  • A sharp knife

Instructions

  1. Position the stakes; ensure the stakes are positioned outside the root ball and planting pit (to prevent root damage), and are being driven into firm undisturbed soil. It is best to have the stakes slightly splayed outwards from the tree so when they are tied, they will pull up straight.
  2. Bang the stakes into the ground around 400 – 500mm in depth using the sledge hammer or stake rammer.
  3. Once the stakes are in the ground, you then use the tie webbing to tie the tree to the stakes. Make sure the tie is high enoug ht o support the tree; at around one-third of the height of the tree is an ideal height. Tack one end of the tie on to the stake with the stapler or nail.
  4. Run the tie out to the tree and back again and cut to length.
  5. Now run the length of tie out and around the trunk of the tree. On the way back to the stake, twist the tree tie over and over the first length. Once back at the stake, fold the end of the tie over and staple to the stake. Note: the tie should be taut without pulling the tree towards the stake. The top of the tree should still be able to move freely, to support correct stem and root development.
  6. Repeat the above for the next stake.
  7. For windy locations: you could consider adding extra ties lower to the ground, to give extra stability to the root ball as it becomes established.
    tree-496
What NOT to do

Now finally, a few tips on what you should NOT do to avoid damage to your tree;

  • Never use wire or anything else that will cut into the bark of the tree
  • Make sure you do not bang the stakes through the rootball
  • Never stake using only one stake

If you have an upcoming planting project but have not yet purchased any stakes, feel free to browse our range HERE. Or, if you still have unanswered questions, feel free to REACH OUT to one of the team who will be happy to help.

Matthew Strachan
Published on