How To Stake A Tree Like A Pro

tree staking, how to stake a tree


Let me start by making one thing perfectly clear, please. I love good landscape contractors. In fact, I straight up worship and adore those who make it their business to know their business. A landscaper who goes to the trouble to do things right is worth the weight of their truck in gold.

A landscaper who does things wrong, on the other hand…now that is a whole other fruit altogether. Especially when they’ve been doing their job for decades. That’s the type of fruit that only serves to ruin the reputation of all the other fruit working in the same industry.

The reason I bring this is up that all of these examples of ridiculously bad tree staking were found on commercial properties, where professional landscape contracting companies did the work. I also want to point out that on three out of four, the tree only had one drip emitter.

For a tree.

In the Mojave Desert. 

I know, I’m sorry, I’m getting off track. Let’s get on with the business at hand.


This first image showcases one of the most common mistakes people make, which is using the transport stake that came with the tree, like so:

tree staking, how to stake a tree

Now, to be fair, when it’s done by a person who’s planting a tree for the first time, this is totally forgivable. I mean, it does look a lot like the tree has just come pre-staked for you. But this stake is in the wrong position to offer the right kind of support once your tree is in the ground and, on top of that, it isn’t strong enough to use in place of thicker lodgepoles. A professional landscaper should be aware of this.


tree staking, how to stake a tree

Next up, aside from the fact that the stake shouldn’t be right up next to the tree, the ties shouldn’t be anywhere near as tight as they are here. It’s rubbing the bark off the tree and stressing it out in a big way.

Bad landscapers, please take note: I want you to think back to the last time you were arrested and they put the handcuffs on too tight.

It’s exactly like that.



tree staking, how to stake a tree

Okay, on this one, it kind of looks like we’re getting somewhere.

Someone did go to the trouble of using a couple of lodgepoles, but in the end, they didn’t show a whole lot of faith that they would actually work.

Please take the transport stake off the tree. I’m begging now. You can use it for your next jousting match or to keep your sliding glass door closed. Hell, paint it green and pretend it’s a light saber for all I care. Just get it off the freaking tree.







tree staking, how to stake a treeAw, c’mon…you can’t be serious.

I don’t know if you can see it, but the transport stake has snapped into two pieces down near the bottom and as far as I can tell, the tree is actually supporting the lodgepoles here.

Great job, guys. Excellent workmanship. Take the money and run.


tree staking


Finally! A properly staked tree!


Yes, it’s a drawing, but I don’t care. It has two lodgepoles, each inserted at least 2′ in the ground and about 2″ to 3″ from the rootball of the tree. The ties allow for the tree to move a bit, which encourages a healthy trunk and root system.

Man, woman or Martian, I sincerely want to make out with whoever drew this tree. Call me.

Do you have any pictures of beautiful, ugly or interesting plants that you’d like to share? Please do send ’em along to I love that stuff.




  • Hi, I have a photo of a tree I took when I was in Las Vegas last week I could send you. I am trying to identify it. It looks similar to a wisteria tree but not quit same. I got a pod off of it and I am going to try to sprout it
    Thanks ! Vicki from Georgia

    • Hi Vicki, I apologize for the late response and I hope you got your answer already but if not, I’m willing to bet you have a photo of a Texas mountain laurel, aka mescal bean (Sophora secundiflora). They’re great little drought-tolerant, heat-loving trees that do great in our valley. Look for the Silver Pecos or Silver Sierra variety. It has a beautiful silvery leaf that those fragrant purple flowers stand out against beautifully. Also, there’s a caterpillar that really likes to eat the green-leafed one but not so much the silver. Thank you for your question. I’m starting to blog again after awhile away so please check back for new posts soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *