Tree Care and Maintenance
Seasonal Tree Care Tips: Winter 2020
Tree Planting: To Stake or Not to Stake?
Images courtesy of: Fred Baker, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
An example of improper staking.
Staking is often the last step of the tree planting process, but is it really beneficial? Typically, rigid stakes are driven into the ground near the trunk on two sides and plastic or vinyl ties are wrapped around the tree trunk and attached to the stakes. We do this to provide structural support for the newly planted tree, but most trees do not need to be staked. Trees that are staked focus more energy into height and crown growth resulting in slender trunks that are less wind firm, while trees that are not staked focus more energy on root and trunk diameter growth, developing a strong support system. The ability to flex and bend in the wind creates a stronger tree.
When properly done, staking can be helpful for bare root trees or trees planted in very windy areas, but containerized and balled and burlapped nursery stock generally don’t need it. Improper staking is too common, with ties wrapped too tightly around the trunk or left on the tree long after establishment, which can lead to girdling over time.
Proper staking involves placing stakes low to help stabilize the root ball rather than the trunk, using flexible materials to tie the tree to the stakes allowing the trunk to move, and removing ties and stakes within the first growing season.
Next time you plant a tree, consider forgoing the stakes. The last step of your planting process could be adding a mulch ring around the tree instead! Mulch helps to insulate the soil and retain moisture, but too much mulch can be harmful. Generally, a 3” deep ring of mulch in a 4’ circle around your tree is sufficient, but don’t pile mulch against the tree trunk.
Visit the sites below to learn more about staking and call 503-635-0290 or email email@example.com to register for the free Tree Selection, Planting and Maintenance Workshop scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on April 11, 2019 at the City’s Maintenance Center (17601 Pilkington Road). More information about this workshop will be announced in the Urban & Community Forestry insert included inside your April HelloLO Newsletter!
- The Myth of Staking, an article by Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, Washington State University
- International Society of Arboriculture, Best Practices for Staking a Tree Podcast
- Selecting, Planting, and Caring for a New Tree, Oregon State University, EC1438, March 2016
Please check back for more seasonal tree care and maintenance advice!
Fall 2019: Insects and Diseases
Summer 2019: Drought Stress Revisited
Spring 2019: Trees and Construction
Winter 2019: Topped Tree
Fall 2018: Autumn Leaves
Summer 2018: Emerald Ash Borer
Spring 2018: Pruning Young Trees
Winter 2017: Tree Related Storm Damage
Fall 2017: New Tree Selection and Planting
Summer 2017: Trees and Turfgrasses
Spring 2017: English Ivy Removal
Winter 2017: Recognizing Tree Risk
Summer 2016: Drought Stress
Fall 2016: Preparing Trees for Winter
Additional Tree Care Resources:
|National Arbor Day Foundation||The Morton Arboretum|
|Oregon Department of Forestry||Tree Care Info|
|ISA Find an Arborist||Oregon Community Trees|
|Oregon Department of Forestry||Alliance for Community Trees|
Right Tree in the Right Place
Use this handy guide for assistance in choosing the right species of tree based on the constraints of a site, such as overhead wires, narrow plant strips, and proximity to structures.
"Right Tree Right Place" - helpful information such as "Use this guide for assistance in choosing the right species of tree based on the constraints of a site, such as overhead wires, narrow plant strips, and proximity to structures."
"Master Plant List" - a guide to the plants that are acceptable for mitigation requirements in Lake Oswego.