Trees with strong trunks are thicker near the ground line and taper up. They normally do not need staking. Trees that do not develop a normal trunk taper are often the same diameter at the ground as they are several feet up the tree. They may fall over or bend when the stakes in the container are removed. A general rule of thumb is to provide support for all bare-root plants over 8 feet and container and B&B trees over 6 feet or 1 inches or more in trunk diameter.
and B&B plants
The most commonly used method is to fasten three guy wires to stakes that have been fixed in firm soil equal distance from the hole and from each other (Figure 3). The stakes should be driven 18 to 36 inches into the ground at a 45 degree angle away from the trunk. It is absolutely essential that all three stakes be firmly fixed so that one or more of them will not pull out in high winds. The tops of the stakes are notched to hold the wire. The wire is then fastened two-thirds of the way up the trunk by a loose rubber hose covered loop. The other ends of all wires should be fastened equally tight to the stakes without putting a strain on the trunk. The wires should be firm but loose enough to allow slight movement of the plant. Your goal is simply to keep the plant from blowing over. Check the wiring occasionally to be sure it is adequately tight and is not causing trunk injury.
staking should be removed within one year after planting. You may be able
to remove stakes for fall planted trees by mid-spring. The tree should
have become established in this period of time. Growth is actually reduced
if the supports are left in place for long periods of time and some plants
can become girdled by wires as the trunk increases in diameter.
Prepared by: Erv Evans, Consumer Horticulturist, NC State University
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