Every day on my way to work I pass this unusual tree in Schenley Park. It was planted with care, probably more than 40 years ago, when stakes were provided to stabilize the young tree.
But the stakes were never removed. The tree grew and grew. The trunk had nowhere to go except outward. Slowly it engulfed the stakes.
Now this tree’s in a world of hurt. The rubber guide and wires disappeared long ago. The stake on the right is still outside the trunk but only a short length of wire is visible (below).
The other stake is completely surrounded. Its top is inside the trunk.
And now the stakes can never be removed. Though they’ve created a weakness in the trunk, they’re the only support the tree has at that spot so they have to stay. The damage is done.
It’s too late to save this tree, but you can help others. Examine staked trees to make sure the guides are not girdling the trunk. Remove the stakes 1 to 2 years after planting.
For more information see Bartlett’s plant health guide for newly planted trees.
(photos by Kate St. John)