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Preventing Tree Damage from Staking
Posted on Sep 23rd, 2015

One of the best articles from the subject comes from New Garden Landscape and Nursery in NC although a quick google search turns up a lot of great information.
 
Here is what they have to say:
 
Our crews see many preventable problems in the landscape when we’re on customer’s properties. One that we occasionally see is girdling of a tree by the ropes used to support it after planting. This can cause disfiguring scars on the trunk, and in the most extreme situations, death of the tree by “strangulation”.  When supports strangle the tree the decline can happen very slowly until the tree is finally dead. Here’s what you need to know so your tree doesn't turn into firewood.
 
A rope (or cable) and stake system is often used when installing trees that might be top-heavy. This prevents shifting or leaning due to wind forces or softening of the ground in heavy rain events.  Ideally, the staking system should support the tree, but be loose enough to allow for some movement and “flex” of the trunk. This gentle movement, produced by wind, helps strengthen the trunk and promotes root growth.  This helps the tree establish well in its new location. Excessive shifting of the root ball after planting can inhibit or tear new root growth, slowing the tree’s establishing in its location. Not all trees need to be staked however-the proportion of root ball to tree height with the density of the leaf cover factored in determines what trees need staking.
 
In most cases the staking system should be removed a year after planting. In the case of a very large tree, it may take two years for it to be well-rooted enough.  To test if the stakes are ready to be removed, move the trunk back and forth, watching the area around the root ball. If you see any movement of the soil, the tree still needs the stakes. If they need to be left in place, inspect and adjust the rope and ties to ensure that they are not too tight around the growing trunk.
 
If the rope (usually threaded through a piece of hose to cushion the trunk from abrasion) is not removed from the trunk, the consequences are usually severe, and vary depending on the type of tree. On some trees the trunk can grow so large that the rope acts as a tourniquet on the vascular system of the plant, gradually crushing it. This prevents the tree sap from freely flowing between the leaves and the roots, leading to decline and ultimately death. On other trees, the support ropes can cut into the trunk, leaving a constricted area that is weak and susceptible to breakage from wind or ice.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This trunk was so compromised that it snapped easily at the point of constriction.
 
 
 
 
To View the article in its entirety or see what other tips these experts have shared, click here.