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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I love that stuff.