Thursday, October 15, 2015

Staking Newly Planted Trees

            It’s looking to be windy around here for the next few days; makes me think about the trees I’ve planted recently.

           Tree roots not only suck water, they also anchor the tree to the ground. My newly planted tree’s roots have been sucking water, but have not had enough time to anchor themselves in the ground. They try and send out roots into the soil but the wind causes the trees to rock back and forth in their holes, snapping off any attempt at gaining a foot hold. This is why I stake them.

            Staking your newly planted tree keeps the root ball from moving; holding it in place long enough to give the young new roots a chance at burrowing into the soil.

            When staking a tree, tri-pod arrangement is employed. The first stake should be pounded into the ground 3 to 4 feet out from the west side of the tree. We have prevailing winds from the west so naturally you will want one of these guy wire ropes to hold your tree from what typically comes from this direction.
            If this west side rope is at a twelve o-clock position the other two stakes should be at a four and seven o-clock position. This setup will secure the tree from any wind, from any direction.

            Keep all three ropes secured to their stakes for two years. After the second year remove the 4:00 rope; usually this is the least windy side. You want to start introducing the tree to some wind; this strengthens the tree’s trunk. To keep the tree tied up too long, and then remove them all, the tree will be like a cooked noodle with very little supportive rigidness at all.

            After the third year remove the 8:00 rope; this will gives the tree more reasons to wiggle, thus gaining more starch in its drawers.

            By the end of the fourth year, sometime in the late fall when the leaves have fallen, remove the western rope.

            Now it is standing there with its bare face to the wind; and it is a bare face to be sure; not a whisker on it, not a leaf, not an acorn, nothing but bare twigs and branches to catch the wind. This gives the tree six more months of backbone building until it faces a summer with a full head of leafy, wind catching, hair.

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