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Remove stakes

girdled tree from stake left too long in placeIn most instances, stakes installed to help anchor the tree from moving in the soil should be removed within one year after planting. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and trees have died due to trunk girdling effects of attached wires and other supports.

If anchorage is required for more than a year on a tree four inches caliper and smaller, there may be a problem with the tree or how it was planted. If there is no plan to remove stakes, use one of the staking mechanisms that anchors the tree without attaching anything to the trunk.

It is important to remove any stakes that are secured to the trunk to help hold it erect as soon as possible because supportive trunk tissue could develop slowly if trees are staked for a long time. Unfasten the stake from the trunk six (in warm climates) to twelve (cool climates) months after staking. Do this immediately following a rain shower since the weight of the water will cause the trunk to bend over if the tree is still too weak.

If the plant stands erect, remove the stake. If not, repeat the process approximately every few months until sufficient trunk strength develops. Leaving small branches along the lower trunk will also help the trunk increase in diameter and strength. These branches can be removed once the tree can support itself. The canopy can also be thinned to reduce weight. This helps hold the tree erect.