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Unstable young birch tree

We purchased a silver birch tree in the bargin section of our local garden centre about 4 1/2 years ago.  The tree was in a 5 ltr pot and was around 7-8 feet tall.  We dug a large hole and put plenty of organic matter and bone meal in the hole to encourage root growth and staked the tree.  We live in a windy area and consequently left the tree staked for the first 4 years.  The tree grew well, had a nice canopy and looked healthy last summer. We removed the stake last autumn assuming the tree would be well rooted and would continue to thrive.  However, over the winter, with the winds and wet soil the tree is constantly blowing over, and it seems that it has a very poor root system.  Consequently we have re-staked the tree low down to the base of the trunk.  All the other trees we purchased at the same time haven't had any problems since their stakes were removed.  Obviously we can't leave the birch tree staked forever so we thought we may dig up the tree in the autumn and plant it a foot or so deeper so the base of the trunk was buried.  We wondered if anyone has any ideas if this would work?


  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    why not?just don't band it to tight,we have an old apple tree that we staked to keep from falling over ,20 years on its still there keeping the tree up right.image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,350

    Don't plant it deeper, it won't like that. It will rot. It might like to be dug up, have its roots teased out and put back, with your stake. Sometimes roots just go round and round like they're still in a pot. 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • joy  greyjoy grey Posts: 2

    Did you plant it in a square hole - always better than a round hole as the roots will grow out rather than around the periphery of the hole. Certainly don't plant it deeper! Consider using a perforated pipe to deliver water and air. Tree roots need aeration as well as water. Good Luck!

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Why exactly do you think you can't leave it staked for ever?  If it needs a stake, it needs a stake.

  • discodavediscodave Posts: 510

    Im inclined to agree with nut, It might be that the roots are too tight, I would say tease them out somewhat and replant it. How big is the tree now? and how thick is the trunk? 

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    There are a number of Birch Trees near where I live. Been there for a few years now.

    All of them were double stalked either side with a flexible band holding the tree in place and still are. However, one or two of the bands have snapped and those trees are swaying somewhat.

    Although not a tree expert, from my observations I'd say that some trees may need support for longer. If, the tree is not showing signs of distress I'd personally re-stalk or even double stalk it with some good solid supports - support at the bottom is offering no support at all really.

    Messing around with the trees roots and uprooting is a recipe for disaster. I've on occasion uprooted things in the past, only for them to die not long after.

    Trees are expensive, are they not ?

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Short stakes are recommended nowadays.  The flexing of the trunk above the stake is supposed to promote roots for stability.

  • Hedge HogHedge Hog Posts: 10

    Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions image  The tree is around  9-20  foot now.  It has been double staked and regularly breaks the ties due to the wind.  I think we'll check the roots, and re-stake!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    Welshonion wrote (see)

    Short stakes are recommended nowadays.  The flexing of the trunk above the stake is supposed to promote roots for stability.

    Have to agree this seems the favoured method and I've had good results. But is there perhaps another reason for the roots not out the way they should? Location- rock/stone blocking them? You mentioned the wind and that's always a big and tricky factor in the siting of any tree. Worth a little look at roots as you say HHog.image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Maybe you could solve the problem by pollarding the tree to whatever height would suit the site - anything from perhaps 2 to 5 ft and let it grow into a multi-stemmed tree. Stake it well and this way you might avoid the effects of the wind until it develops a really strong root system.

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