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I have got a 10 year old acer that leaned slightly towards a wall of a 2-story object, and on windy days it touches the wall, sometimes harshly banging its leaves and branches against it, and I would like to help avoid that to some extent by staking the tree and forcing it to grow more vertical.

I am thinking of many staking methods, as illustrated on this picture:

enter image description here

(illustration credit: International Society of Arboriculture, Bugwood.org)

What are pros and cons of these methods?

  • 1
    is the tree's root ball stable? Any chance of getting a photo of the tree? – Ben Nov 16 '17 at 12:45
  • I think the differences depicted in your figure have to do with the size of the tree. – benn Nov 16 '17 at 12:50
  • I can't provide any photo at this moment, but maybe in couple of days. The tree root ball is perfect, actually, this is an established (and healthy) tree, the root is already very developed and stable. It just grew slightly leaning towards a high wall. I don't mind the look that is not 100% vertical, however this is a windy area, and branches often touch and hit the wall in such days, and I want to avoid it (and at the same time I don't want to prune it, since it has a beautiful natural look). – VividD Nov 16 '17 at 12:51
  • @b.nota You may be right, and if the size is considered, my tree is even larger that the third tree in the picture. – VividD Nov 16 '17 at 12:59
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I'm actually not sure how well staking will work as long term solution. Eventually the tree will likely become dependent on it. It may be possible to wean the tree off the staking, but I'm not sure. :)

Most of the drawings I've seen for staking trees are for newly planted trees. The ties are placed about 1/3 of the way up the tree so the crown can move freely (helps to develop the taper at the base) while the tree establishes roots. From the sound of your description is seems like stone strategic branch shortening may be in order to help strengthen the the branch but also remove a little of load. I know you say you don't want to prune, but it may end being more helpful to do some minimal pruning in the long run.

In terms of staking, a single stake mostly keeps the tree from moving a single direction. Two stakes are helpful to keep it from moving in two directions, and three provide the most support. Of course, every place where a cable/strap/etc touches the bark is a place where rubbing can occur, and also a place where girdling can occur if you don't keep loosening the ties annually.

I would place a single stake into the wind, two stakes perpendicular to the wind, and three as combination of the previous two. What's around the base of tree? If you have a decent sized tree ring (or planting bed) the stakes may not be an issue, but if there's turf it's going to become harder to get a mower / trimmer in there. If you're cabling the tree (as in image 3) it makes it even that much more difficult so keep that in mind when choosing both a type of staking and a layout of staking.

Another option might be a single brace under the main leader, assuming the tree is leaning enough.

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  • I do consider staking temporary. I can imagine keeping it for several years or so, but eventually, I don't like those cables staying forever in my garden. :) – VividD Nov 16 '17 at 13:23
  • Shrubs, perenials, and concrete paths are at the base of the tree, no mowing in that area. – VividD Nov 16 '17 at 13:26
  • Note: stalking is also useful for snow (but in this case, a single stake is enough, in case of the third one, this should be good anchored, stronger than wind). – Giacomo Catenazzi Nov 16 '17 at 13:39
  • I have some heavy concrete blocks for use in case 3. – VividD Nov 16 '17 at 14:40
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In my opinion, this tree is well past the time when staking could help - usually, a tree is staked for a year or two when a sapling; when well rooted, the stakes are removed. You say that the root ball is perfect and the tree is well established, so the anchor roots aren't likely to move regardless of what you do to the trunk. A 10-year old tree is also quite sturdy, so the trunk is unlikely to be swayed by staking. In fact, if you were to stake it tightly you run a very good risk of strong winds in a storm snapping the trunk off at the top of the guy wires.

You'd be better off pruning it to keep the branches away from the building, but only if you prune it properly (no stubs!).

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  • Thanks! This kind of maple moves a lot when the weather is windy - eventhough it Is 10 years old. I don't know the reason, maybe large leaves, or thiner trunk. I have other acers same age but difference kind, they move significantly less. The trunk Is not fully sturdy. In any case, I appreciate bringing all you said to my attention. – VividD Nov 18 '17 at 16:58

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