Don’t do this to a tree

It never ceases to amaze me what evil can be done to a tree, simply with a tie and a stake. These homeowners probably thought they were doing a kind thing to their young tree, propping it up with a stake. However, this poor puppy should have been let off its leash long ago, before garrotting the bark this way.

In fact, unless there’s a danger of the root ball shifting, it’s good for a young tree to be left unstaked. Blowing in the wind can strengthen the trunk — just like human tissue gets stronger through exercise, creating micro-tears in the muscle which build the muscle as they heal.

And I won’t make a bad pun about what’s at stake here.


  1. Helen, I cringe every time I see something like this. People will also leave the plant identification tags on, and they do the exact same thing. Obviously, they are not even looking at their tree. I think that we need a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Trees. No more improper pruning, and water those street trees, otherwise its off to jail your go!

  2. City and trees on commercial sites are the worst for this kind of neglect. Planting smaller trees where possible is always preferable to planting a large rootball that needs to be staked; the smaller tree will establish itself much faster due to less stress when it was transplanted from the nursery.

    Another tree-cruelty item is planting trees above grade, then hilling soil or mulch up around them, and expecting them to survive. Dig the tree in fully, and it will survive longer than 20 years!

  3. I agree, Nick. In my experience the smaller trees do catch up very fast. Less stress, I guess that's right.

    And yes, grade is so important to the tree.

    Another thing that makes me wince is seeing trees growing into wire fencing. Some cedar trees seem to be quite adept at it.

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