Tree Staking

I will be planting my first trees on dwarf and semi-dwarf rootstock next week. I’ve been advised to stake them. I see several different ways of staking on Google. Looks like the 2-3 stake method near the drip edge is very popular but Since I’m planting my trees pretty close to each other I feel like a central stake would keep things less cluttered. I was planning on using electrical conduit or rebar as the stake. Or possibly even 1x1" wood.

What are your recommendations?

On the trees I need to stake I just use a T post about 6" from the trunk. It helps support the tree but it can still move some.

My lazy method is to wait until a tree starts to lean a touch and then put stake on the opposite side of the lean. Only one stake does the job since it is holding the tree up, and most trees I never end up staking. I find it is very soil type dependent on which trees need staking.


Depends on how sheltered your trees are from strong winds. Where I live rebar and conduit wont cut it in open areas. Sandier soils are going to require more staking as well. Personally T posts on opposite sides are the easiest. Three screw into the ground anchors also work well in a triangle.

While not pure clay I’d say my soil is on the heavy side. They are only partially protected from wind so staking them is something I feel needs done. Not necessarily the same day but soon after. T-bars sound like maybe the best option as it would be strong yet keep me from having 3 guide wires per tree.

I try to stake everything, especially bare root trees that i order. A lot of spring winds around here and i’m somewhat exposed in most of my growing spots. I use whatever i have on hand…wood or metal, it doesn’t matter.

I install hundreds of bare root up to 2.5" caliber trees at many sites. Even hurricane winds have never knocked over or made lean any tree I’ve staked with a single 2"X2"X8’ pressure treated post (not home depot, but good quality stuff). Conduit will work as well but not as attractive.

If the tree has any decent branch structure I choose the most convenient branch, drive the stake in line with it a foot or 2 from the trunk and use electric tape to connect the stake to branch. The tree can move with the wind a bit which helps it grow.

Small unbranched trees don’t generally need staking around here but for that you need to put the stake right near the trunk to do it with a single one.

I’ve never staked a newly planted tree in my life. I wonder how trees survived without humans to stake them.

The only time I use a stake and it is really rare is to right a tree growing in a less than upright direction usually after getting chowed on a bit by gophers. They don’t eat it all so they recover. Do a nice job of tilling the soil under the soil. Trees seem to like it.

FN, a tree that starts from seed wouldn’t generally need staking- the root and top are in balance and the tree has maintained the balance, but when people dig up trees, tear up some of the roots and stick them in loosened soil (for faster root growth) staking may become necessary- some sites some soils.

And then there is genetic tampering where we put a not very vigorous rootstock under a more vigorous scion. Some varieties grafted to M7 tend to lean over sometime after the 5th year when carrying a first or second heavy crop. I manage a lot of leaning apple trees where this has happened and it can happen with even better anchoring rootstocks in soils that become very wet at certain times of the year, where it is windy or the soil is shallow.

Cornell recommends routinely staking bare root apple trees on M7 because of common anchoring issues. It is far more easily done preemptively with a single piece of conduit tied to the trunk.

I mostly stake well branched bare root trees and do so if the trees seem at all lose after installation.