Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived a tree. It was a magnificent tree, planted in a little hole just last year by a volunteer do-gooder rNeighbor feeling fine sort of person/team. It was magnificent all year, all of 2010, at least until the do-gooder did his thing, digging a small hole, stuffing the sad little roots into the hole, stomping down the dirt, covering up the evidence with 100 tons of wood chip mulch crap. Finally....2 stakes were pounded down alongside the tree and tied to the tree so no one could steal it. Not sure if it is to protect the tree or the stakes...it doesn't matter much, the stakes don't do what people think they do...it's just a feel good gesture.....a total waste of time. (unless they are bare root trees) Stake?
If you read the linky, you'll understand how I liken not staking trees to people/animals doing weight bearing exercise. Let the wind blow the tree around, it will grow wider and stronger faster to better resist the effects of wind. Weight bearing exercise for us creates bigger stronger bones, negating the effects of oseteoporosis.
This year, the rNeighbors again planted 1000 trees, but instead of 2000 stakes, they used 3000 stakes. Each stake is quite a bit bigger than the tree that they're supporting. But they forgot to tie some of them, which I think is funny. I drive around the neighborhood where they planted last years batch, a bunch of them died, and I think that they should have replaced them. 450+ people showed up to plant 1000 trees....but there was a crew that went around before, up to 2 weeks before cutting away sod, a 4x6 rectangle of sod gone...someone else came along and filled in that area with dirt, then someone else came along and hauled away the sod after leaving it sit around for several days.
I think that if people want trees in their yards, they should put them there on their own. If they don't want them, too bad....you just got a tree or 6. Deal with it. I planted a maple tree once, in fact, I've planted a total of 4 of them. One died, and was replaced with an ash tree. Two of the maples started as seeds blown in from somewhere. The ash must have come from a seed from the neighbor's tree, and the elm came from my elm tree, which is at least 60 years old. I did stake one maple tree, after Val mowed it off. When I saw that it was going to come back, I put a stake next to it so she'd know to not mow it again. One of the others was eaten by a rabbit it's first year, and came back from that; they have a will to live, and you're welcome to come hug them.
Back in 83? 84? my stepmonster saved up her green stamps (ha! those were gone by then) and bought a peach tree. I don't know if she checked to see if it was hardy for southern IA, kinda doubt it. I'm sure that she thought her thumbs were green enough to overcome the freezing cold winters and burning hot summers....not that the tree would care too much about the summers after the first winter. She did everything she was "supposed to do" with this tree. She hired the concord to fly it to our farm, which meant she had to rent a bulldozer and plow out a runway for it, that probably cost more than a lifetime of peaches could ever cost. She dug a hole 27 times larger than the root ball, added all the best fertilizer, mulch, hummus and cream cheese. She filled in the hole with her best silver spoon, one teaspoon at a time. She used a forest of stakes, all around it, it was kind of like a fence around this tree to support it. She carried water to it, hundreds of trips to this peach tree with her finest china tea pot, nothing could be too good for this special tree. Then it died.
Autumn is the proper time to plant trees. autumn Jill planted it in the summer, during a drought. A LONG ways from the nearest hydrant...we didn't have long enough hoses for watering that tree, which is why she had to carry the water.
About this same time, Dad got a stick in the mail, the card with it stated: This is a locust tree. Plant it somewhere that you want a tree to be. This happens once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So, copy this to your status and money will arrive within 4 days...based on Chinese Feng Shui. I recall that he looked at the stick, and we discussed which end was which. It went something like this. "Which end is the root end?" "don't know" "Ok. what the hell, it's money bags."
Dad took the stick out to the yard, found a crack in the ground (remember...summer + drought = cracks wide enough to insert a stick into), requested we not mow it off. The stick sprouted, grew....a lot.....even though it was shaded by mature ash, walnut and catalpa trees. It grew into a wonderful tree....surprised all of us.
Pretty sure that these trees didn't get staked. Couple things that are not good: dutch elm disease, emerald elm borers, bureaucrats that say that the city needs more boulevard trees at the same time they're cutting down boulevard trees.