Buying new trees
with stakes attached
Q: I saw the Dirt Doctor on TV and he said not to buy new trees that are
attached to stakes. How else can you keep them standing up?
He also said that after buying a new tree to "use a wisk broom to expose
the root flare" what the heck does that mean?
A: I didn't see this particular episode, but I think the Dirt Doctor may be
referring to trees that are so loose in their rootball that a stake is
needed just to hold them upright.
If their root system is so insufficient
that the tree requires help just to stand up, the root system is also likely
to be insufficient to provide the tree with enough water and nutrients to be
able to survive. In this case, it is better to pass on this tree.
I've planted many a tree that came with a stake, but I checked to make sure
the tree was stable enough within its rootball to stand on its own without
Staking should mostly be used to provide support of trees that
are in an extra-windy area, not to support a tree that can barely stand up
on its own. After one year, the staking materials should be removed unless
conditions warrant otherwise.
As for checking for the root flare, yes, this is very important. The root
flare is the area at the base of the trunk where the trunk flares out and
down into the ground. Look at an established tree and you'll easily see the
flares at the base of the trunk where they go into the ground.
When you plant a tree, you want this root flare at or slightly above what
will be the final grade around the tree. If you plant too deeply and bury
this root flare, the tree will most likely struggle and it may not survive.
Planting the tree with the root flare just above final grade level will keep
the tree from being planted too deeply. Being planted too deeply has killed
many a tree, so this is a wise thing to do.
Ask our Arborist a question. E-Mail us at:
Top of Page
Back to Trees