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cutntrim
09-21-2000, 08:11 PM
Hey guys. One of our properties has several maples planted in raised tree boxes. They were planted 3 years ago and are probably about 4 or 5 inches in diameter now. They are still staked and I was planning on removing the stakes. I've heard the rule of thumb is to remove tree stakes after two years. Looks safe to do that now, but they are in raised boxes and not planted at ground level. What do you think?

FIREMAN
09-21-2000, 09:28 PM
How big are the boxes? If the boxes are big enough I wouldn't worry, but if they are small you might have a situation where the roots really can't support the tree, especially when heavy rain or wind or both, not to mention ice is concerned. Use good judgement and remember its always better to err on the side of caution. One other consideration, do the boxes have a bottom? If so the roots of the trees have been kept from going deep and will not be as strong.

steveair
09-21-2000, 10:03 PM
how well are they staked? I get to jobs a lot of times and people say they want me to leave the stakes, then I go over and check them and they are usually so loose that they wouldn't help anyways. Still, they insist on me leaving them because they saw 'hometime' the other night and the host said 'always use stakes for all your planting jobs'

With big trees like that, a substantial staking system is required. Systems like the 'duckbill' stakes are great, but the old wooden post and wire/plastic ties usually do not do to much to support bigger trees unless time was spent to really do it right.

As to the 'horticulturally' correct idea of whether they should be there or not, that one is left up to a lot of argument. I've been to classes, had professors, had other landscapers say that 1 year is usually sufficiently, and that long term staking can lead to weak trunk development in the long run. Because of the raised planter situation however, it brings in a few other circumstances that may prove different.

Here's a thought though. If the boxes are not very big, and they are maple trees, I will have to say that does it really matter then? If you think about it, the trees, growing in a small boxed in enviroment will probably not be able to grow anywhere near there mature size, and in a matter of 10 years or so will probably have to be replaced or transplanted anyways as they will be under a lot of stress. If they do live, the chance is the whole planter will blow over with the tree eventually, and unless you use telephone poles for stakes, not much will stop that.

If the trees are not crooked now, then I would take them out at this point. If they are growing crooked, then I would try to straighten them and leave them in for one more year.

steveair

Toddppm
09-22-2000, 07:35 PM
Take em off, with maples they have probably just about filled those planters with roots, the weight alone should hold the boxes down unless they are small. I never stake trees unless they are really thin and can't support themselves, and that only happens when the customer picks the trees instead of letting me do it. 1 year is plenty,sooner the better.

cutntrim
09-22-2000, 09:32 PM
Thanks for the replies guys. The boxes are about 10' x 10' and 4' high. Don't know if they have bottoms but they are in a courtyard which is on top of an underground parking garage so there isn't to much further below the box that the roots could go anyway. Seems an unusual landscaping plan to me, but then the entire site is laid out rather poorly. Trunks are straight so I'll remove the stakes. Stakes have the usual wire w/hose setup. That's the norm around here anyway.