Stakes and supports

Many trees will benefit from stakes and/or support. Where shelter is limited, as in the open situation, support is vital, since bigger trees normally have been grown in reasonably sheltered environments. Invest in good stakes as appropriate to the tree size with good 1-2m clearance above ground. Bamboo is adequate for smaller trees to 1.5m. Wood, metal or synthetic stakes are preferable for larger trees, as well as those that will soon become larger. Decide on either a single stake, or 2 or 3 stakes, or a 3-stake shelter. A 3-stake shelter can support windbreak around its exterior, which is usually beneficial. This also serves as a pest prevention tool – see below.

With a single stake, be careful not to damage the main roots as you drive it in. Try to stake outside the root bole. Tie the tree to the stake in a least two places – taking care to do so firmly but not tightly. Use recommended ties such as the range of plastic ties now available, or a soft material like a rubber inner tubing, or soft fabric. Of course the objective is to bring the tree to the point it can stand by itself, as soon as possible. So not all trees need staking, and some not for long.

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