How Long Should You Brace a Young Tree?

How Long Should You Brace a Young Tree?

April 12, 2021

When you’re planting a new tree, it can usually use a little extra support. Most tree services and arborists recommend bracing young trees until they’re more established. However, owners need to be careful to only brace trees that need it—and not for too long, or it may harm the tree’s natural growth.

Here’s how to tell whether your young tree needs bracing—if you’re still unsure after reading, the best solution is to call a tree service in Paso Robles, CA to visit your property and offer their recommendations.

Which trees need bracing?

To determine whether you need to brace your tree, look at the size of the root ball as compared to its height and leaf canopy. This will determine whether the tree needs extra support. For example, if your young tree has a small root ball compared to its height, and a large canopy, it will probably need to be braced. The roots aren’t big enough to keep the tree from falling over, so the bracing will support it until they’re better established.

You may also need to brace your trees when there are strong winds or other major environmental concerns involved. The goal is to keep the trunk steady until the roots will be able to do the job on their own.

Small tree bracing

Small trees (those with a trunk less than two inches in diameter) only require a stake and bicycle inner tube for bracing. The inner tube provides padding between the trunk and the stake, and the stake supports the tree.

To brace the tree, hammer a 36-inch stake into the ground, as close to the tree trunk as possible. Take the inner tube and tie it around the trunk and stake in a figure-eight—this arrangement provides the padding.

Large tree bracing

If your tree trunk is two to four inches in diameter, you’ll need two stakes on opposite sides, while trunks greater than four inches in diameter need at least three evenly-spaced stakes. The stakes should be placed about 18 inches from the tree trunk so they don’t damage the roots. Instead of an inner tube, use soft cord or nylon rope to secure the stakes and trunk. You might wish to use padding in order to protect the tree.

When to remove tree bracing

The goal is to remove the bracing as soon as the roots are established enough to support the tree. Larger trees may require two growing seasons (or years) to establish themselves, while smaller trees will likely only require one. If wind or other environmental factors are an issue, you may need an additional year or growing season to ensure the roots are fully established.

Bracing your trees will help keep them upright while they’re growing—but this is an art, not a science. If you’re not sure whether your trees are ready to grow on their own, work with a tree maintenance company in Paso Robles, CA. Neumann & Sons Tree Service can help when you call today.

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