What are stakes and guards, and how can you check them

What are stakes and guards, and how can you check them

Last Edited: 13/06/2017

Bringing new plants into a garden full of mature trees is an exciting and busy time. To ensure they reach their full potential and stay healthy, measures can be taken as soon as they are planted. Using stakes and guards is crucial to the long-term health of your new plants. If you’re unsure where to start, our guide will help you decide what you need to get started. 

What are stakes and guards?

Stakes are used to support a new plant in its initial growth, helping the development of a strong trunk and root system. Driven into the soil alongside the plant, they are a temporary measure which helps plants become established. Staking can be done in many ways depending on the type of plant, its size and how it is planted. Guards are usually placed around the trunk of the plant to protect young bark from damage and are made in a range of materials, such as burlap, cardboard or mesh.

Why they are important

The early days of a new plant are the most important. A strong and stable stake will prevent bending and breakage which can occur in new roots. Tree guards are used to protect young bark from animal or weather damage. Guards should be put in place with stakes when a tree is planted, giving it the best possible chance and helping to maintain the health and vitality of the tree. 

How they can be checked and maintained

Once fitted, tree guards should be removed at least twice a year. This allows the trunk to be inspected. Vegetation may have built up around the guard, and you can alter the fit of the guard if your trunk is outgrowing it. Stakes left too long can hinder development, and the ties used to secure them can become tight, causing damage. Check them regularly and remove them after one or two full growing seasons, depending on the size of the plant. 

Need a helping hand? Todds Nursery can help you to set up and maintain your new plants. We can supply mature and semi-mature trees, giving you the confidence to grow and manage your garden.