10 Ft Ruddy Red Oak planting #130391 - Ask Extension

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10 Ft Ruddy Red Oak planting #130391

Asked May 28, 2013, 6:06 PM EDT

When planting I put a full bag of potting soil in the bottom of a 30 gallon hole and forgot to mix it with the surrounding (clay) soil. At this time it is leafing what seems to be OK. I still have it staked after 3 years since planting as it still has a spindley top with  a very weak leader. How can I correct that? Should I flush that potting soil with a root feeder at the appropriate watering time or leave it. The leafing seems to be OK but the tree is not growing a trunk and I feel if I removed the stakes it would not survive  a storm

Denver County Colorado

Expert Response

Since the tree has been in the ground for three years already, there is no way to change the soil that you placed at the bottom of the planting hole.  

Trees do not develop a strong trunk if they are staked for too long and too rigidly.  Similarly, if you had your arm in a cast for months on end, your muscles too would weaken.  If utilized, all stakes should be removed after one year.  If the tree cannot stand upright on it's own, attach the stakes to the tree as low as possible and use flexible material that will not girdle the tree. ArborTie has been shown to work well.
http://www.sherrilltree.com/Professional-Gear/Guying/Arbor-Ties
Alexis Alvey Replied May 29, 2013, 6:26 PM EDT

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