Can I remove existing stakes and ties?
Removing stakes and ties is an often neglected job – even by people who plant trees for a living. Just look around your city streets if you don’t believe us! There are lots of trees choking to death out there. Stakes and ties should be viewed as temporary, in constant need of removal or replacement as the tree grows. We can help provide this valuable service, or here are some tips if you choose to do it yourself:
When you come across a tree that has the original square nursery stake still attached, remove it. If the tree can’t support itself, tie the tree to support stakes loosely, in such a way that it is upright but can sway in the wind.
For trees you have planted, go back and remove the support stakes six to eighteen months after planting. If any stake is rotten or broken, or if it interferes with the tree’s growth, remove it and replace if needed.
If the tree still needs protection from outside hazards but can stand on its own, try installing protective barriers or tree guards. For seedlings and small trees, a number of tree guards are on the market; you can also make them from wire and small stakes. You can use three or four short stakes (2 1/2 feet above the ground) around the trunk of a large tree to protect it from maintenance equipment. For more serious protection from vandals and vehicles, the stakes should be four or five feet tall, made of two-by-fours or equally strong material, such as metal pipe or rebar, and connected by cross-pieces at the top.
Fix ties that have broken or slipped down. Check for ties cutting into the tree. If the tree has grown around a wire, don’t try to remove it, but loosen it as much as possible and cut off any free ends. Replace ties made of materials that can cut into the bark.