Thread: red maple stake

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  1. #1

    red maple stake

    Hi! I just bought and planted a red maple tree from Lowes. It came with a stake type thing attached to the trunk and going into soil/container to keep it straght. I left this in when I planted it. Do I need to take it out? If so..when? Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central Indiana

    RE: red maple stake

    That's a judgment call, but you don't want to leave it in too long. The tree needs to stand on its own in the wind. I usually leave the stakes in until I'm pretty sure the roots have started to grow into the ground. At first, the stake helps stabilize the tree. Later, it hampers the tree's development. So, you need to remove the "crutch".

    When to remove it also depends on the location. Is it in a spot where winter winds are going to push the tree around a lot? If so, I'd leave the stake until the tree has fully taken hold and has recovered from the transplant.

    Of course, staking is used to straighten trees as well. If you have a crooked tree, you might use the stake to pull it straight.

    One more thought on this: how is the stake attached? If it has the those little green tapes stapled together around the trunk, they might damage the bark. If they're too tight, you might end up girdling the tree. I've been surprised at how quickly a tree grows and such things begin to cause problems. You might cut those off and, if you still want the stake, attach it with something looser and less likely to damage the tree. It shouldn't be as big a concern in a fall planting because growth will be less vigorous than in the spring.

  3. #3

    RE: red maple stake

    It is basically a long bamboo shoot that is attached to the tree by 3 black zip tie type things (thicker than zip ties). I would just hate to remove them and see the tree lean way over to the side and is crooked or something....there is no way to tell right now. Any other opinions out there on this one? What do you typically do when planting trees? I am new at this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now

    RE: red maple stake

    Plz say where you live, tree's general 'exposure' to wind/rain, and how tall the tree is. It helps knowing these things

    The stake is used to help buy time 'til the roots get a footing in soil and to keep the winds from blowing tree over until the footing is established. A protected area has less need for a stake, and vice-versa, of course. A short tree will need it less, and firmer/rocky soil lessens need even more. A really tall leafy tree (wind resistance, per se) in loose sandy soil will require 'help' much longer than a shorter tree that grows roots really fast, blah, blah... hence the 'judgement' call. Here in OK, I find it necessary to stake trees over ~3' tall or wet sandy soil will slowly let tree shift to horizontal.

    Maples are fairly quick to get roots spread, and in general, it'd be safe to say to leave stake in until mid-summer next year or so. Other factors will mitigate this guess either way, IME. Loosen those zip-ties to let tree sway some - it needs it. A firmly held tree is much less 'tough' than one that moves even a bit


  5. #5

    RE: red maple stake

    Sorry guys, I live in North Carolina near the coast. Soo...pretty sandy soil but the ground was very hard where we planted the maple. It also is planted in the corner of my back yard so it has a privacy fence on two sides of it which will break the wind coming that way. It is about 8-10 feet tall right now (would have to go home to look at it to be more specific). And I want to make sure we are all on the same page in that it is not "staked" (where there are stakes in the ground around the tree with ropes, etc., tied to the tree) is just 1 long bamboo shoot tied along the trunk of the tree and going into the soil parallel to the tree. Thanks for the opinions so far!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central Indiana

    RE: red maple stake

    From what you describe, I doubt it is going to do much good for the
    tree. When, exactly, did you plant it? I'd give it a couple of weeks, then remove the stake. You can always restake the tree if you think it needs it. It doesn't sound like it will providing any benefit in that site. I planted
    a bunch of Lowe's trees this spring and I removed all those bamboo poles by mid-summer. To be more precise, I cut the ties and freed the tree, but left the stake with the plastic band that tells me what kind of tree it is. I do that because I've got so many new trees that I can't remember which one is which and some species resemble one another.

    The first rule is: do no harm. If it isn't helping the tree, it will only present possible problems. Remove it soon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now

    RE: red maple stake

    One thing I forgot to mention - make sure stake is down into soil deeper than rootball...into undug firm soil or its all a wash Been there, done that...

    At 8-10', you'll want to stake it as the roots are nowhere near wide enough to provide ample stability (yet). A single stake works well to a point, but bigger trees in gusty winds and wet soil would challenge the limits of one stake, hence multi-stakes used at times. At that height, fences won't keep brunt of wind from tree tops, so stake should remain. It *might* even be advisable to get some smaller stakes and do the three-point staking instead. Hurricane/rainy season ain't over yet... Maples can make a large cross-section to wind with the larger leaves, so would not *hurt* to do so. Don't think that being in a corner wil help tree - it might make it worse with 'swirling' gusts, etc...who knows?

    An ounce of prevention applies big-time here, IMO. Just let tree have some sway room so the roots feel the wind in a manner of speaking; ropes/ties should not be guitar-string tight at all, and loops around tree should hang loosely also. The intent is to *limit* the swinging degree of tree, not prevent it from happening whatsoever.

    And no fert for tree until Spring, and only lightly, if at all, then. I say this to save you a post, LOL.... Maples don't like heavily nitrogenous ferts, fwiw.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now

    Re: RE: red maple stake

    Quote Originally Posted by IhateSuburbanSprawl
    I do that because I've got so many new trees that I can't remember which one is which and some species resemble one another.
    I've run into amnesia issues with all my species, when you know, but don't remember....

    'Sprawl and I are both kinda saying same thing. The single stake isn't going to do much for that height (as described), but IMO the tree isn't going to do much (if any) root growing until Spring. That's why I was thinking to leave *something* through mid-summer next year when roots are functionally growing and extending.

    As we all have said: Judgement call - but maybe its understood better the concerns we are pointing out for use of stakes. A stake does no harm whilst tree is dormant


  9. #9

    RE: red maple stake

    Thanks...I was going to fertilize it on sunday I just planted it this past Sunday. Um...the bamboo shoot is definitely not into the firm soil past the rootball...and pushing it down now would be pretty much impossible considering how hard the ground it...oops. Now what? Take it out and 3-point stake it? Also, I planted a red dogwood bamboo shoot on this one...but should I wait to fertilize this one also? Once again...I bought those miracle grow stake fertilizers and was going to fertilize both trees Sunday. This is much more complicated than anticipated

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now

    RE: red maple stake

    I opened the fert can-o-worms, so I'll fix it. *Only* fert if you think the soil needs it (rotting leaves/sticks/mulches and other stuff will give plenty of nutrition) and its easy to overdo it. No newly planted tree should have anything other than water/soil upon roots, and with dormancy approaching, tree is shutting down chemically for winter. Springtime will bring a bigger need for feeding, but only if soil is 'depleted'. Test kits or testing from a County Extension office will give you good results (usually) and lead to MUCH better trees. Forgo the fert stakes...more probs than benefits...period.

    If bamboo stake is not helping, take it out I would do some form of support for the next 6-12 months or so, even tying to fence will help greatly until the roots get into solid dirt. Think about this: the hole dug will retain water more than soil around it (think of a bowl) and tree will easily rotate within such soil 'soup' for some time. Just limit how much movement tree can do, and will be well eventually. That is one of the drawbacks of buying larger potted/B&B trees - roots just aren't there as they should be

    Honestly, trees are much simpler than imagined. Many folk think that using ferts is complicated, but trees tend to do better with less 'love' than most 'newbies' think is required. Assumptions (and assumptive actions) kill trees much more than lack of attention, IME.

    A great link to some educational writings are at and follow appropriate links. Brent writes more for bonsai, but fert use is similar for any species wherever its planted. Look through his blogs as well as there is a LOT of anecdotal evidence for fert use/non-use and the when's/how's of fert-ing.

    I'm happy to answer any questions you have, but read-up (google, google, google, LOL) a bit to get a better understanding of ferts (save ya some money, also!). 'Research' the species to see if they prefer an acidifying fert or a 'general' one (azalea -v- Maple as example, per se)


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