How to Stake a Garden Tree

First things first – not all trees need to be staked. If you’re planting a young sapling in a relatively protected area, then staking could actually hinder root growth – swaying in the wind encourages stronger and more resilient roots. However, if you’re planting a more mature specimen or if your tree’s new home is in a highly exposed area, then staking is a good idea, so long as you do it correctly. Here’s how:


Gather Your Materials

It goes without saying that in order to stake a tree, you’ll need a stake, or possibly two. Some gardeners even use three – it all depends on why you’re staking your tree, as well as your environmental conditions.

The best stakes are usually either wooden or metal. When it comes to the height of your stakes, the general rule of thumb is to go for something around one-third of the height of your tree. However, don’t worry if yours is taller or shorter – this doesn’t matter quite as much as how you use the stake.

You’ll also need some ties. Tree ties are readily available – these are usually thin wire wrapped in rubber to protect the bark. Alternatively, use old nylon stockings – these make ideal ties since they’re soft and flexible, yet very strong.


Insert Your Stakes

Your stakes should be inserted just outside of your tree’s root ball. Don’t be tempted to insert any through the root ball instead – you’ll only end up causing damage and restricting growth. If your tree is in a pot, then place your stake as far away from the roots as possible.

If you’re using multiple stakes, place these at even intervals around your tree.


Tie Your Tree to its Stakes

You’ll need to make sure that you cut your ties to the right length because they should be able to loop around your tree and a stake in one go. Never wrap your tie around your tree on its own – you’ll end up damaging the trunk.


Adjust the Tension

Here’s where it gets tricky. Fasten your tie too tightly and you’ll end up cutting off your tree’s circulation, leading to its demise. On the other hand, leave it too loose and there’s really no point in even having a stake in the first place.

Ideally, you want your ties to be tight enough to keep your tree relatively sturdy. However, your tree should still have enough room to be able to rock back and forth on a windy day. Remember, this helps to create stronger roots.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to keep adjusting the tension as your new tree grows. Give it more and more room as it expands, until you’re able to remove the stake altogether.



Some gardeners stake all new trees that they plant, while others don’t bother staking any. Both types of gardeners will more than likely end up experiencing some form of damage because of their methods. The key to a healthy tree is to know when you need to stake, and then understand how to stake that tree in the right way.


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