Tips On How To Stake a Tree

Updated: Jul. 27, 2021

If you want your tree to grow big and strong, staking is a necessary practice that can provide tremendous benefits. Learn how to do it like a pro.

In addition to sunlight, nutrients and water, a newly planted tree might need support — the physical kind. Some young trees need to be staked until their roots take hold.

Most trees only need to be staked if the tree cannot stand on its own, has a small root ball, or has been planted in a high-traffic area (like near a sidewalk) or an extremely windy location. This is especially true for big conifers that catch a lot of wind.

How Long Should Trees Be Staked?

Staking a tree allows for temporary stability so the tree can establish its roots in the soil. Trees are too old to be staked once they have established roots. So, in most cases, you should leave the stakes tied to the tree for one growing season. According to Connor Walsh, owner of Emery’s Tree Service in Minnesota, leaving a tree staked for too long can cause damage and negatively impact its growth.

Tools and Materials

There aren’t many materials required for the job. You will need several five- to six-foot metal or wood stakes, and a shovel or hammer to push them in. There are different methods for staking a tree with one, two or three stakes. Generally you can’t go wrong using two, unless the tree is quite large.

You will also need material to tie the stakes to the tree. That choice plays an important role in the process. Don’t use wire or rope because it can damage the tree. Use soft, flexible material like cloth or canvas webbing.

How To Stake a Tree

1. Place The Stakes

If using two stakes, place them 18 inches away from the tree on opposite sides. Pound each stake about 18 inches into the ground with a hammer or the back of a shovel. If using three stakes, form a triangle and follow the same steps.

2. Tie The Tree

Tie the strap onto the trunk about two-thirds of the way up. Don’t tie it too tightly. The tree should still be able to move a bit when the wind blows, as this helps the roots grow stronger. Also, if you tie too tightly, the strap can damage the bark and impact the growth of the tree.

3. Tie The Stakes

Tie the other end of the straps to the stakes at their halfway point or above. Unlike when you tied the strap to the tree, make sure to tie tightly around the stake itself.

Safety note: In areas with a lot of foot traffic, be sure to tie the strap high up on the stake to prevent tripping.