Best stakes for dwarf apple tree

I am wondering what people recommend as the best thing to use as a stake for a stand alone apple tree? I have about 30 on G11 rootstock and have been using t-posts, but I find that they are so rigid and hard for the tree to rub against without significant bark damage. I am not interested in trellis systems.

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It’s standing straight for now so as long as it does not lean maybe no stakes. Is the outer wire cage for deer prevention? Good mulch job,By the way, but suggest you remove most of the chips within 3” of the trunk. Too close May cause rot to set in, tree needs to breathe. If and when you decide lateral support is needed, take a portion of rubber hose or similar soft material to tie a ring around the trunk at 2/3 it’s height, then drive three stakes in the ground to serve as your tie downs. Three wires from the ring down to stakes will hold it erect.
Dennis
Kent, wa

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I have found automotive vacuum line is cheap and soft. Plus many times your tie rope can slide right it it.

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Stakes will weaken a tree.

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Following this.

This is brilliant, and also gives me the idea that i could wrap something soft around the metal tpost where the tree rubs. Thanks!

I understand all this and the science etc but this is my second go-round with G11 trees and they grow so flimsy and weak naturally that they blow over in the wind or with heavy crop loads. Staking them is a must where I live

Hard to tell from picture but yes the mulch is not on trunk. Cage is for deer, will remove once they’re a little bigger and my dogs are moved to the area. I have a Great Pyrenees and he never stops working for me, best dogs ever

The solution is training via pruning, not staking.

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I hope to try the guyotte method this year.

The general practice for dwarf apple trees is permanently stake them or attach them to a trellis. All of the commercial orchards with dwarf trees are trellised or staked.

They do this for a couple of reasons. One is pruning delays fruiting and commercial orchards strive to produce a crop of apples the second year. They train the trees and avoid pruning as much as possible during the establishment years to get that second year crop. Second there is a basic trade off you can build fruit or you can build wood. The tree only has a finite amount of energy. Since apples are sold and wood is not, building apples is favored by commercial growers. Third many of the dwarfing rootstocks and some of the semi-dwarf are very precious. They will bear large crops naturally before the framework of the tree can fully support the crop load. So even good sized trees with G30 and G890 can benefit from temporary staking. And trees on M26 and M7 can lean too. Also the roots on most dwarf roostocks are brittle. So permanently staking dwarf trees is a standard practice.

On the other hand there are some dwarf trees (and orchards) that are not staked. Gene’s old orchard in Chicago is a good example of this. Midwest Fruit Explorers used to have photos of his orchard on their website. He had a bunch of trees on M27 that were not staked. But the trees were very short, less than shoulder height, he was an expert at pruning, and the orchard was highly sheltered from wind. Most backyard growers are going to have trouble duplicating what he did. So in most cases you are better off permanently staking dwarf apple trees.

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You can stake a tree and let it sway a bit. Go back and forth a few inches and get stronger while catching it if it’s going to go sideways because of strong winds (or an uneven crop load). You should address the second possibility by pruning and thinning though. Doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Ten foot 3/4" electrical conduit driven four feet into the ground has worked for me on B9 and M26. I slip a PVC Tee fitting over the top end and run twine through that to support limbs that need it. I use an electric engraver to write the scion and rootstock names, the transplant date, and the nursery on a scrap of aluminum flashing and fasten that to the conduit with a radiator-hose clamp. I use square-link plant ties to secure the trunk at about three places.

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