While staking young trees may seem like a good idea, the stakes can often do more harm than good. Read more to learn why it might be a good idea to skip the stakes.
50 trees planted at a rebuilt school from two years ago had been staked and forgotten, so Montgomery County students recently volunteered on their day off to help DEP save the trees from disease and death.
There is almost never any need to stake a tree, if the tree was well-grown at the nursery, and planted well. Stakes are only needed in the first year if things are expected to bump into them (car doors or soccer players, for instance).
Volunteers cut the wire to remove stakes from a growing tree.
Check out these reasons to SKIP tree stakes:
Save money and time: You won’t have to pay for stakes or take time to remove them.
Trees grow better and get bigger: When they sway in the wind, they grow more roots, which provide water and nutrients for growth.
Save the environment: Tree stakes are made from wood, which was logged, and metal, which was mined, and this all ends up in the trash.
Protect the trees from bark damage: Stakes can pull too tightly or cut into the bark if left on too long as the tree grows.
A volunteer takes time to pull mulch away from the base of tree. When placed in a volcano formation touching the base of trees, mulch can have negative impacts, causing disease and rot.
Always remember to treat the bark of a tree like your skin—don’t leave anything on it all of the time! (What would happen if you left your socks and belt on for a year non-stop?) Take off old watering bags, pull mulch off the base of the trunk, and remove stakes and plastic labels. Plant a tree well, protect it, and it will reward you for years to come!
Want a free tree on your property, to provide shade and other benefits? Sign up on Tree Montgomery.
Blog by Mary Travaglini, Planning Specialist in DEP’s Stormwater Facility Maintenance Program
Scroll down for more images of tree damage.
The wire was just removed from this tree, but it was left on too long, as evidenced by the deep gash in the trunk. This tree will most likely not survive.
Volunteers pulled several inches of mulch away from the base of this tree. If you see mulch volcanoes, it is recommended that you pull mulch away from touching the trunk. When mulch touches the base of the tree, it can cause disease and rot, as seen in the damp bark in this photo.
A watering bag was left on this tree for too long. A DEP employee was able to remove the bag, which exposed bugs and dampness that are negatively affecting the trunk of the tree.
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My Green Montgomery is a project of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. It is a service to help Montgomery County residents think and live in a way that safeguards and sustains the health of our people, our county, and the planet.