Discussion in 'Maples' started by blake, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. blake

    blake Active Member 10 Years

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    Dallas, Texas USA (8a)
    Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum, somewhat new to Japanese maples (and thoroughly enchanted) and, I suppose, a veteran with trees in general. I've enjoyed browsing through old posts learning much and seeing so many great photos. In many of these wonderful pictures I've noticed people have staked their trees.

    This practice appears common enough and very curious to me so I thought I'd ask if a general philosophy exists regarding staking Japanese maples.

    Please note, I am not talking about staking as it applies to shaping. It's pretty easy to tell when someone has staked a tree for shaping purposes and when it is intended for support.

    It has long been preached to me that staking is a bad practice probably started years ago by those who planted bare-rooted trees and back-filled the hole with soft potting soil (wrongly as the hole should be back-filled with the same soil that was dug up). Staking can cause damage to the cambium layer, stress and long term injury. It also prevents the natural movement of the tree in the wind which prevents the development of trunk caliper and trunk strength. Staked trees consistently produce less trunk taper, develop smaller root systems and may well lean when the stake is removed.

    (All that said, there are rare instances when a tree needs to be staked for a while - sandy soil, tall evergreens, etc. - and in those cases the guying should be placed as low on the trunk as possible and removed as soon as possible, staking should never be left on more than one growing season.)

    So again, is there thinking or a philosophy specific to Japanese maples that would explain why so many trees pictured in the this forum are staked?

    Learning more everyday...
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2007
  2. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    ROME Italy zone9/b
    Blake I change soil in the hole for maple because I don't have Japan soils in my country ;for me the "original soil "is good for native plant, if you plant the exotic species you must consider that they live in different soil,for staking i use bamboo for many years because if I planted maple "Platanoides" (that is very high )or palmatum Seriyu the trunk remain uprigh .....alex
  3. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southwest France

    Welcome to this forum. ;o))

    What you say about staking trees in general is sound and I basically share it as a baseline.
    I stake Japanese maples mainly for shaping. Some of these trees could be very attractive when correctly shaped through pruning and staking. Often you want a branch to take a more horizontal (or vertical) direction. Or you want a weeping dissectum to take some height. Also, when grown in shade they tend to grow towards the light and this may result in an unwanted asymmetrical growth.
    But in most cases the Japanese maples , left on their own, unhindered, usually take their natural, also wonderful, shapes.

    On the other hand, sometimes, trees grown indoors by growers are so frail that, in windy locations, the choice is either to stake it for support or to prune off the branches hoping for new, stronger growth.

  4. schusch

    schusch Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I agree with what you are saying, and with Gomero.

    In pots, however, it can be a different matter. A lot of maples I get arrive balled and burlapped, and have a limited rootball, since they were dug up, and lost a lot of their roots. I need to stake them to encourage root formation, since I place them in a very light potting mix, and the wind will knock them over and damage the rootball, or at least 'disturb' it.

    The same goes after a rootpruning as a result of a repotting. Better root growth with staking the first year. So no branch pruning, but staking.


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