Come on and Stake it
With the warmer spring weather approaching, there’s no better time to grab your gumboots and get your hands dirty in the garden. Spring is one of the best seasons to plant new trees and veges. There’s nothing better than digging up your new potatoes and fresh salad greens for your summer BBQ’s.
When putting new things in your garden, a tree or plant can greatly benefit from staking. A young tree with a dense crown of leaves, combined with a disproportionately small root system ball is almost certain to require a stake. By staking a tree like this it anchors the tree, giving it more permanent, natural stability. As well as providing stability it also shields from the elements such as strong winds.
Staking a tree can also offer protection. It creates a demarcation around the tree so the lawn mower and kids can be kept from close proximity from damaging the tree. If you have circled your tree with wood chips, bark or any other type of mulch, you won’t need to mow near the tree. This will also retain the moisture for the tree’s root system. For protection, a trunk needs at least three stakes circling it.
Stakes are very beneficial for growing vegetables such as climbers; runner beans, peas and sprawling vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. The best time to put up stakes or other supports is at planting time so you do not disturb the plant roots.
For vegetables, thin bamboo stakes offer a nimble device for the plant to grow up and around. These are also lightweight and easy to replace and move, as the plant grows taller and yields more fruit.
Consideration should be given to what type of tie is used with the stake. Plastic cable ties and cut up bits of old pantyhose or fabric always work well with gentler, smaller plants. More robust trees such as roses benefit from a sturdier tie like chain ties. These too can be adjustable as the tree or plant grows.
Benefits of staking:
- Saves space
- Easier to see the fruit/vegetables when harvesting, such as tomatoes
- Produce more fruit by keeping them off the ground so they do not rot
Dig and stake:
- Choose a position in your garden where you want to plant, taking into consideration sunlight and protection from the elements.
- Look at the plant to see which way it is leaning. If it is leaning to one particular way, then overcompensate by putting your stake to the other side. This will encourage your plant to grow straight.
- Now hammer in the stake into the ground so that it’s 30 to 40 centimetres deep.
- Tie the plant to the stake. Using your tie, secure the first one near the bottom of the tree, where the tree starts to fork out into branches. Attach the ties to the stake, about 10-15cm apart.
- Re-attach new ties as the plant grows taller.
Hopefully you will grow a healthier and sturdier plant or tree in the long run by putting in a little bit of effort at the beginning stages.