Proper Tree Staking

The ideal time to plant a tree is in early spring (late February to early April)

Why stake trees?

Properly staked tree

Properly staked tree.

In an ideal world no trees would ever require staking. Most of the trees sold in Arizona, however, are grown in containers. While growing in containers, trees do not develop roots, or trunks, that are strong enough to support the trees once they are installed in our landscapes.

Installation and staking

1. Excavate a hole that is of proper size, ensuring that it is not too deep for the tree.

Tree damaged from staking.

Tree damaged from staking.

2. Remove the container that surrounds the root ball. If the root structure appears to be healthy, go ahead and place the tree into the hole. If, however, the roots appear to be growing in a round, or rectangular, pattern that is dictated by the shape of the container, return the tree to the nursery and obtain a replacement.

3. Fill the hole surrounding the tree with native soil, making sure to water sufficiently to eliminate air pockets around the root zone.

4. Remove any stakes that were in the planting container, especially those to which the trunk was tightly tied.

5. Grasp the trunk of the newly planted tree and firmly move it, simulating the strength of a strong wind. If the trunk seems to be weak, or if the roots do not appear to be capable of supporting the trunk and canopy, additional staking is warranted.

6. Stake newly planted tree with 2” diameter by 8’ or 10’ length (depending upon the height of the tree) pressure treated stakes. These should be driven into the ground outside of the planting hole and root ball.


7. Attach tie wires to the stakes and a large diameter wire loop that surrounds the tree trunk. The loop around the trunk should be at least one foot in diameter, i.e. the tree trunk should be able to move freely. A tree should NEVER be tied so tightly that it cannot move freely. It may be necessary to tie the trunk at two, or even three, heights.

* Most stakes can be removed after approximately one year if properly staked.

* Although it is possible to utilize many types of materials as tree stakes, best are the 2” diameter pressure treated wood stakes. These are available at most nurseries, as well as at home improvement stores.

More Info:

Plant Replacement

Survival Factors

Dead PlantIn a planned community setting, most, if not all, of the plant material is brought into the community and is not native to the site. Different species and plant types adjust in different ways to their new environment. Some plants thrive, and some do not. In fact, plants that are the same species and planted in relatively the same location can react differently to their new home immediately or after several years. When a plant is suffering, it may not show signs of stress or have visible damage before declining and dying. There are a variety of different factors that contribute to the demise of a plant: transplant shock, poor root structure, negligent care, vandalism or wrong plant for the location, just to name a few.

Removal Process

Irrigation CapsOnce DLC’s crews are certain that a plant is dead, and not just taking a bit longer to recover from an external shock, it is removed. Concurrent with removal, crews cap irrigation emitters to prevent wasting irrigation water.

The goal of plant replacement is not simply to replace every plant that is removed; it is to fill voids in planting areas. Sometimes, mature plants naturally grow into open spaces, and new plants are not needed in an area where a plant was removed.

Replacement Conditions

Ideally, new plants are planted when nighttime temperatures are over 55 degrees and daytime temperatures are under 90 degrees for a prolonged period of time. In most cases, plant replacement is most successful in the early spring and fall because temperatures and humidity allow the plant to establish itself in its new environment before the harsher weather arrives. When a plant dies during the summer heat, it is removed, and it can take the Association several months to replace. In some instances, replacement can be delayed further by budget constraints, plant palette modifications and nursery availability of size, quantity or species of desired plant material. The Community Manager or Board of Directors may delay replanting until adaptations are made to the landscape plan or until a bulk number of plants need replacement.

Missing PlantIf you see a bare spot where a plant used to be, contact the Association so the Community Manager can consult with the Board and landscape management provider to coordinate replacement.