How to Brace a Sapling to Grow Upright

Written by bridget kelly
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How to Brace a Sapling to Grow Upright
Loosely secure the tree so the ties don't cut into the bark. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Planting trees in your yard is a smart move. They not only provide shade, potentially cutting your utility bills, but they also can increase a home's value. When you plant a sapling, you may find that it's having a hard time standing upright. The trunk is thin and flexible, so it needs to be braced to grow straight. Bracing helps train the sapling to grow upright and, if done properly, will strengthen the trunk and the roots.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Small tree stakes
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Tree ties

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  1. 1

    Determine the direction of the prevailing wind. Contact your county cooperative extension agent if you need help with this.

  2. 2

    Position the tree stakes six inches away from the sapling on either side, facing into the prevailing wind. For instance, if your prevailing wind comes from the west, place the stakes north and south of the tree. Pound the stakes 6 inches into the soil, using a mallet or hammer. Make sure the stakes aren't taller than the sapling's bottom branches.

  3. 3

    Grasp the sapling's trunk a few inches above the soil. If the top bends over, move your hand an inch up the trunk. Keep doing this until the tree stops falling over. The Arizona Cooperative Extension suggests placing the tree ties six inches above this point.

  4. 4

    Wrap the tree-tying material around the sapling. Cross it over itself in a figure eight, then attach it to the stakes.

  5. 5

    Check that the ties are tight enough to hold the sapling upright, but not so tight that they do not allow it to sway slightly in the wind. This movement helps the tree produce a stronger trunk and roots.

  6. 6

    Check the ties every month to make sure they don't become too tight as the sapling grows. Loosen them if necessary.

  7. 7

    Remove the ties in six months. If the tree stands on its own, remove the stakes. If not, retie the sapling and check it again in six months. In most cases, tree stakes should not remain in place after one year.

Tips and warnings

  • Tree ties can be purchased at gardening centres, or you use strips of pantyhose or soft fabric, such as from a T-shirt.

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