How to stake a multi trunk tree

Staking and guying trees | UMN Extension

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Quick facts

  • Staking provides support to newly planted or damaged trees, but is not always necessary.
  • Stem attachment materials should be wide and flexible to prevent damage to the tree.
  • Straightening wind blown trees is possible, but can be difficult and depends on many factors.
Double staking method. Always attach the stem loosely to the stakes to allow for flexibility.

When is staking necessary?

Staking is often unnecessary. Occasionally, newly planted trees may require staking when:

  • They have unusually small root systems that can’t physically support the larger, above-ground growth (stem and leaves).
  • The stem bends excessively when not supported.
  • The planting site is very windy and trees will be uprooted if they are not supported.
  • There’s a good chance that vandals will uproot or damage unprotected trees.

Install the staking or guying attachments at planting time or straightening time and leave them in place for one growing season.

If done properly, staking provides stability until the tree can support itself. However, if staking is done poorly or for too long, it can do far more harm than good.



Staking a tree


One stake attached two-thirds up a tree stem Two-stake method, attached one-third up a tree stem Three stake method for supporting trees Guyed tree with attachments on canopy stem Guying system for a conifer tree Stakes connected at the top of a conifer tree

Wind thrown trees

Wind thrown tree

Occasionally, wind thrown trees can be straightened and saved. The success of this technique depends on several key factors, however:

  • It must be a true wind throw. That is, the roots must be pushing up through the heaved soil.
    • If the tree is leaning or horizontal and there is no evidence that the roots are pushing up and heaving the soil, then the tree stem probably broke off below ground and is essentially lost.
  • Straightening a wind thrown tree is most successful when the trees are relatively small: Up to 15-20 feet in height and a stem diameter of six inches or less. 
    • Larger trees may be straightened, but it takes a skilled tree care company with special equipment to perform the operation.
  • The roots must still be alive. 
    • If they have dried out or if it’s several days after the windstorm, the chances of success are greatly reduced.
  • The soil must be moist. 
    • Straightening trees in dry soil conditions, especially in clay soil, is generally not a very successful operation.
  • The tree should be in good health. 
    • If the tree was diseased, infested with insect pests or otherwise stressed, the chances of survival are not very good.
  • Shallow-rooted species (e.g. maples) may be straightened with more success than deep-rooted species (e.g. walnut).


Excavate under up-rooted root system. Straighten with winch. Backfill, water, mulch, install guy wires and anchors.

Splinting trees


Gary R. Johnson, Extension forestry specialist and associate professor of urban and community forestry and Tracy Few, researcher, University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources

Reviewed in 2020

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How to Stake a Tree the Right Way (So It'll Never Fall Over)


Many new trees do just fine on their own. In fact, the movement they experience from normal wind and weather helps these yard young’uns develop strong root systems and solid trunk girth. But new trees in open areas often require staking early in their lives. “This prevents leaning while the tree is being established,” says Gary Schermerhorn, arborist and a district manager for Davey Trees in King of Prussia, Pa.

Though new trees in protected areas might not need help, there are several scenarios in which it’s beneficial—even necessary—to stake a tree during its first growing season. For example, a new tree planted on a slope or exposed to very strong winds usually requires some temporary stabilization.

Trees must be staked properly or tree staking can backfire and damage a tree. This guide will help your new tree become a truly upstanding citizen!

What You Need to Know Before Staking a Tree

Once you plant or transplant a tree and know it likely needs staking, the next step comes in learning how to brace a tree to help, but not hurt, it. Once it’s staked properly, your tree only needs help for so long, so know when it’s ready to hold its own.

When Does a Tree Require Staking?


Most new trees planted in the open benefit from help to get started. The usual culprit is wind, which can bend the tree and affect its upright growth. In some cases, strong wind might blow a young tree right out of the ground or break its main trunk. New trees establishing roots in sandy soil are more likely to need staking.

Bare-root trees typically need staking as their root balls grow, and a new tree that does not stand up well on its own or begins to lean after planting needs proper staking. Top-heavy trees with a dense crown of leaves, tall trees with small root balls, and those exposed to foot traffic (near a sidewalk, for example) often need staking.


Some trees are more susceptible to wind damage, and a few tree types almost always need staking; these include eucalyptus trees, acacias, and mesquite hybrids, among others. When in doubt, stake a new tree, but only properly and for no more than a year.

How Long Should a Tree be Staked?

It usually takes a full growing season for a tree to grow sturdy roots. So, if you plant and stake a tree in spring, remove the stake in fall, and vice versa. The tree needs a little time to stand on its own instead of becoming dependent on the tree stakes and ties. Some movement from wind helps the tree develop a strong structure.

So, avoid staking a tree and forgetting about it. “If any material is used to wrap around the trunk of a tree, it should be removed after one year,” says Schermerhorn. Wires, in particular, can girdle and damage a trunk. Staking a tree too long actually can lead to poor trunk growth and a smaller diameter.


How To Stake a Tree Using Tree Stakes and Staking Straps

Tree stakes and straps can support a young or leaning tree, and you can find good quality tree support straps or make your own. Just be sure to take the time to do it right when you stake a tree.

Tools & Materials
  • Tree stakes (2)
  • Sledgehammer
  • Tree staking straps (2)

STEP 1: Get the goods.

You’ll need two tree stakes at least, and up to four stakes, plus tree-staking straps to tie them to the trunk. To DIY your own stakes, taper the points of 6- to 8-foot long, 2×2 pieces of lumber. Or you can purchase stakes, made of treated wooden posts, and nylon or rubber ties online, from big box home improvement stores, or from local nurseries.


Many DIYers use a rope or wire covered with a piece of rubber hose for a flexible and soft wrap on tree trunks. But the best bet is tree support straps, which are designed specifically for staking trees. “Broad, strong strapping, such as ArborTie, works fine,” says Schermerhorn. Avoid using wire or ropes that can rub and cut into the trunk. Larger trees might need ground anchors, steel cable, and lag hooks, Schermerhorn adds.

STEP 2: Drive the tree stakes.

Place each stake on opposite sides of the tree, about 15 to 18 inches away from the trunk, ensuring they will clear the root ball. Drive each stake into the ground with a sledgehammer, about 18 inches deep, but with enough height above the ground level to where you will tie the tree support straps.

STEP 3: Pick the right spot.

In general, to anchor small trees exposed to high winds or on slopes, place the straps about 18 inches above the ground. In the case of a tree with a flimsy trunk that can’t support itself, place the straps about 6 inches above the spot where the tree can stand upright.

STEP 4: Support the trunk.

Tie the tree to each stake with flat tree-staking straps, so that they are taut but not so tight that the tree cannot move. You want to let the tree sway a bit in the wind, which encourages strong root development.

Flat straps provide a large surface area to distribute pressure and avoid damage to the trunk. Be especially cautious if using homemade wire-in-hose straps: Stretch them too tight and they’ll injure the sensitive tissues just under the bark, essential for taking up water and nutrients.

STEP 5: Untie in a timely manner.

Remember, you should only stake a young tree for one growing season, until the root system has had a chance to spread out and set in. After removing the straps, you can leave the stakes in the ground as protection from foot traffic and lawn equipment if they don’t pose a hazard.


If you choose to remove the stakes, dig gently around the base of each one to loosen it, being careful not to disturb the roots. Keep your straps and stakes if they are still in good condition to be used for the next tree you plant that requires staking.

With good care and a little luck, your new trees should bring joy to your family and beauty to your property for generations.


Tips for Staking Trees in Windy Areas

Wind actually helps trees, but sometimes too much of a good thing requires supporting a young or leaning tree.

  • When staking the tree, support it, but don’t pull the ties too tightly. The tree needs some flexibility and movement to grow strong.
  • It is best to use at least two stakes. In high-wind areas, place them perpendicular to the prevailing wind.
  • Place the ties or straps around the tree trunk so they are no higher than ⅔ of the tree’s height.
  • Large evergreen trees have higher wind resistance, and the support is designed to prevent tipping over in strong winds.

FAQ About How to Stake a Tree

Should I stake a leaning tree?

Causes of leaning trees vary, and might affect whether staking will help. Staking a young tree after planting can help prevent leaning caused by wind. Weather events can damage trees. A tree also might lean because the root ball shifted in the ground, which might involve some underground intervention. Try to determine when your tree started leaning and whether it is exposed to wind, then stake properly and temporarily.

How do you stake tall, skinny trees?

The trick to helping stabilize a tree that is top heavy or very tall and thin is to protect the trunk while helping to keep the root ball steady underground. Use of three stakes gives the skinny tree the most support, as long as each strap or guide wire is not too tight or too loose and that you properly protect the trunk from rubbing or girdling. Wrap them around the tree about 6 inches above the spot where the tree can stand upright.


How do you stake a tree for wind?

Remember that some sway or movement gives the new tree a workout. Avoid tightening the straps or wires so tight that the tree can’t budge. A strong wind might cause the trunk to snap where the guides attach. Make sure the ties are flexible but tight enough to keep the tree from blowing over completely. Place the stakes perpendicular to the prevailing wind.

Can you straighten a bent tree trunk?

You can gently straighten the trunk of a tree that leans so badly that it affects the tree’s growth. If possible, use guy wires and wooden or metal stakes to brace the tree, driving stakes deep enough to hold, but making sure they are tall enough to wrap the ties or guides a little more than halfway up the trunk. Have a helper push the trunk upright carefully before tightening the straps. Leave the stakes in place for a year before checking to see if the tree is standing tall.


How to tie trees yourself: gardening tips

Seedlings must be tied to support stakes so that they can withstand wind pressure and weather. Therefore, before tying up the trees, it is necessary to tie up the seedlings.

Newly planted seedlings have a weak root system - their roots are attached to the soil only 1-2 years after transplantation. And before that, our task is to ensure their stamina through a garter, so that they gain strength, and their roots go deeper into the ground. This ensures the rapid growth of seedlings and their strong attachment to the soil. Their roots go to groundwater, where they receive nutrients.

Two to three years after planting, when the trees are more stable, the supporting stakes can be removed. A garter for tree seedlings is required in cases of damage to the roots or their small size with a large size of the tree itself. Before tying trees, you need to study the area on which they will grow. So, if the area is open, and the winds in this area are strong, then trees should be tied up. The same applies to cases where the roots of trees are damaged by rodents. Sometimes seedlings need to be tied up additionally, and sometimes a garter is not required at all.

Also, before tying trees, you need to know the type of soil and the tree itself. This determines the need for a garter to one or more stakes.

Most young seedlings are tied to one support stake . When transplantation takes place and the root system is open, the peg should be driven into the ground from the side where the wind usually blows. It is installed even before planting the seeds in the pit. If seedlings with clods of earth on their roots or container seedlings are transplanted, then a tree is planted first, and then a stake is driven in at an angle of 45 degrees from the side where the wind blows more often. The supporting peg must be driven vertically to a depth of one meter. It is important that its height does not reach the crown of the tree. Immediately after planting, you need to tie up the seedling loosely, and after a few weeks, when its roots take root, you need to tie it up tighter.

Two-peg tie is required when trees are planted in an open area where the wind blows in both directions. Also, this method is used for large seedlings, the height of which reaches 4 meters. In the latter case, stakes are driven in at some distance from the tree on the side where the wind blows more often. The stem is tied separately to the pegs.

Three stake tie is used for seedlings of shrubs and trees with large clods of earth on their roots. Support stakes are driven in to a depth of one meter, and seedlings are tied to all three pegs. To make the garter reliable, you can put rubber or wood plates on the tree bark.

Garter material must be durable, such as twine, hemp rope or a washcloth. An old nylon stocking will also work well. The seedling is tied to the peg with a "figure eight" and is quite firmly connected in the center.

It is important to check how tight the seedling is tied. If the material digs into the bark, the garter should be loosened. It is also necessary to change its location if the rope interferes with the growth of new shoots and buds. The correct garter is the one that holds the seedling rather tightly, but the material does not dig into its bark.

Two or three years after the seedlings have been planted, the stakes should be removed. By this time, the tree will already be able to withstand adverse weather conditions on its own. However, the tree is still worth watching. If it bows under the wind, then it is advisable to install the stakes again. You need to follow the fastening of the supports in the ground. Heavy rains can destroy the soil and strong winds will loosen the garter.

Thus, the question of how to tie up trees is quite complicated, and the process itself requires compliance with certain rules. Therefore, we wish you a successful garter.


Content ✓

  • ✓ Garter of seedlings of fruit trees to homemade supports
  • ✓ Garter of trees in the garden: photo 1 and 2
  • ✓ Garter of trees - gardeners are divided by the experience of

Fruit tree seedlings to home -made rugs

while disassemble garden, many people want to see it in the correct geometric shape, and so that the trees in the garden look even, in order. To do this, when planting seedlings, supports are used.

Also, the support will provide the seedling with additional fixation and will not suffer from strong winds. Stakes are driven into the ground not after, but simultaneously with the planting of trees or shrubs. For woody plants with a closed root system, the stake is driven into the ground at an angle, outside the root ball. Large trees are fixed in the ground with the help of a structure of three stakes - “tripods”.

Woody plants with an open root system are tied to a support driven vertically into the ground.


In this case, the stake is driven in before the plant is planted. The seedling should be in a fixed state for 1-2 years, so use impregnated wood for support.

The length of the stakes is calculated so that they go at least 50 cm into the ground, and in height do not reach 10-25 cm to the base of the crown of the seedling. It is best to use elastic rope for tying: from coconut fiber or hemp.

Tie trees in the garden: photos 1 and 2

1 Trees are tied with a natural fiber rope to a stake with a simple loop or “figure of eight”.

2 Tie the knot in such a way that the bark of the seedling is not damaged.

1 "Tripod" will fix large-sized plants (large seedlings).

2 The tilt support is suitable for plants without a central stem.

3 For bare-rooted trees, the stake is driven 30 centimeters deeper than the bottom of the planting hole.

As a tip:

How to cure a split (cracked tree)

Despite the installed supports, during strong winds, splitting of the branches of fruit trees is possible. If this happens, you do not need to get rid of the split branch. They proceed as follows: on top of the split, the tree is wrapped with burlap, wooden planks are applied and the split branches are tightly connected with a rope. To finally fix them, wrap them with wire. The very place of splitting is covered with garden pitch or covered with a thick layer of clay in half with manure.

Tree tying - gardeners share their experiences

My way of tying trees

I encountered this problem when my garden began to bear fruit with thin branches at an angle that favors splitting and damage. Previously, I, too (like the author of the article), took an ax in my hands and went into the forest for spears.

This method is suitable when small quantities of thick branches need to be supported.

But what if the thin branches are covered with fruits, there are quite a lot of them? Last year, I made a structure over a young apple tree (photo 1), calling it the Hanging Garden. This year I decided to somewhat improve the design, which I called the “Byte garter” (photos 2 and 3).

Cables are attached to the branches with hooks made of steel wire.

Learn more