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Tree Staking

LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,635
edited October 2021 in Problem solving
The usual advice is to stake trees at a low level, but these birch trees on a site we are working on are so tall and spindly that the whole trunk flexes in the wind. The contractors have attempted to lash a pole to the stem but this has snapped (but the stem is OK). Would it be problematic to stake the tree higher? I was thinking something like the bottom image (with flexible straps holding the tree) but with higher stakes e.g. 1.8m.



See the source image

Posts

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,337
    The main reason to stake a tree is to prevent 'root rock' by the wind loosening the soil round the roots and so damaging them. Personally, I wouldn't go any higher than the 2nd photo (can't see the 1st.)  The danger is that the trunk gets thinner and weaker towards the top where all the weight is (ie in the leaves) so the top might break off at a high staking point.  Saplings have very flexible trunks and won't mind the wind as long as the roots don't move.  With low staking, the force of the wind will be distributed evenly along the length of the trunk above the stake, so no stress on weak points. 
    Of course, whatever you do, if there's a regular strong prevailing wind from a particular direction, they'll end up leaning away from that.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,635
    edited October 2021
    Trying the image again. They are very bendy and tall, that's the problem; literally bowing in the wind. They should have been rejected to be honest. Too tall for the girth IMO.


  • PerkiPerki Rossendale - LancashirePosts: 2,217
    I do agree with Bob but after seeing a picture its a bit of a mess really , I don't even think 6ft (  stakes are big enough it will still lean a lot unless it can be tied down . It looks very lob side with the amount of growth of the left may be worth removing some branches to lighten the load. I put stakes in on a angle something like 30 degrees and use tree ties. 
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,099
    My interpretation of those pics is that the tree has been bought, in all innocence, from a seller with an eye to quick profit, rather than practicality?  It has seemingly been grown in ultra-high density conditions, so that each sapling of many has struggled upwards to find the light it needs.  Having grown up with my Dad working chestnut woodlands for fencing stake production, this is a tried and tested method of ensuring long straight stems, i.e. exactly what is required, but they all tend to support each other in windy conditions.  Take a single tree out, and it suffers accordingly, as we see here.  It's presumably been sold to someone for its height - and no doubt priced accordingly?
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,337
    edited October 2021
    I agree, it's far too tall and thin.  Just goes to show it's hardly ever worth going for instant effect.   :/
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,635
    They were specified by girth so it's a mystery why they went with such lanky specimens. Unless the nursery was struggling to sell them lol. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,159
    Loxley said:
    They were specified by girth so it's a mystery why they went with such lanky specimens. Unless the nursery was struggling to sell them lol. 
    I'd say that sounds plausible   ;)
    Not great are they?  :/
    Is there any way you can say to the supplier that they just aren't fit for purpose? 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,635
    edited October 2021
    Bit late, they were planted well over a year ago. A colleague inspected them, not me (although I may not have flagged it as an issue either). They apparently 'died' last summer and 'came back to life' this year.

    Here's some video! I wonder if it would be possible to cut them down to a side branch and let that take over as the leader?

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/hXqcmBAPJt5RqgG87
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,159
    Ah - apologies @Loxley - I missed that bit!
    I doubt it would ever look right. It would be tempting to cut it right back and have a multi stem tree, but I don't know if that would work, and I suppose they're all meant to look the same etc. 
    The other ones look fine, and should strengthen/thicken up. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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