Gardener planting new tree in a garden

Planting a new tree in your yard requires adequate watering and the right amount of sunlight for it to grow properly. You can also expect your young tree to need more stability than its current roots can provide. Most home builders and arborists employ tree support systems, usually comprised of tree stakes and wiring, to ensure it develops into a tall and sturdy part of your landscape. Once planted, it usually falls on the homeowner to maintain the tree and the tree stakes.

Tip #1 – Don’t Take the Tree Stakes Out Too Early

Tree stakes can be unsightly, but it’s important to not remove them before your tree is ready. Keep in mind that the primary purposes for adding tree stakes are to keep the tree straight and to prevent it from falling over. If the tree easily sways when pushed by you or the weather, it’s not time to remove the tree stakes. If you see it beginning to lean, it’s time to add more tree stakes.

Tip #2 – Retighten the Tree Support If It Becomes Loose

For one reason or another, the tree stakes and wiring can become loose. This is not an indicator to remove the tree support. You’ll need to tighten the wire back around the tree stakes and at the flex point of the tree. Tighten the tree straps until you have a sturdy, yet not overly tight hold.

Tip #3 – Loosen Tree Straps That are Choking the Tree

As a tree ages, it grows upwards and outwards. Since tree straps do not expand with the tree, it is possible for the tree straps to begin choking the tree, hindering the flow of nutrients. The easiest way to check is to see if the tree has begun to grow around the tree straps. If it has, then it’s time to adjust the tree stakes.

Use the following instructions to properly readjust the strapping.

  1. First, unwind the current tree brace with care.
  2. After the wiring has been removed, loosen the wire by the stakes to allow more slack.
  3. Reposition the tree support on the tree to just above its current location.
  4. Tighten the tree support at tree stake until you have a sturdy hold on the tree. You want to be able to shake the tree slightly, where it is still firmly in place but has adequate room to grow.

We recommend checking your tree about every six months to make sure it is growing properly and has not outgrown the current placement of the wiring. It is important that there is enough slack in the wiring that your tree can flourish on its own.

The new adjustments will be good for the next six months or even up to a year depending on the maturity of the tree. Once you feel your tree is stable enough on its own, you can remove the brace for good.

A tree in your landscaping will add value to your home for decades if properly cared for. Especially in its early years, it’s important to make sure the tree is growing straight and the root system is growing deep. By maintaining your tree stakes, you’ll be doing your part to help your tree thrive throughout the years.