stake newly planted orange tree?

jrm111April 13, 2010

I recently planted a 7 gallon Navel orange tree. It is approx. 4-5 feet from the root ball. The bottom half of the tree is fairly straight, from there it deviates slightly. Is it necessary to use a stake with a tree of this size? I read it's better to let the tree sway with the wind and settle naturally.

I have a stake in it now, but there is quite a bit of distance from the stake to the tree.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Are you saying that the trunk is crooked? If so, and you don't like the appearance, you should return it. Stakes should really only be used in those rare instances when a newly planted tree won't stay upright in the soil. This might occur in sandy, shifting soil, or on very windy sites.

Correcting a crooked trunk is something quite different.

Would it be possible for you to add a couple of pictures of your tree so we can see what's going on? It might be a simple fix.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 4:18PM
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I have a Trovita Orange tree at that height with about an 24" canopy. We had wind gusts of 55-MPH a couple of days ago. I tell you that tree was bending in the wind and whipping back and forth like crazy. The tree was not damaged by it at all. It made me think though about how well it would have held up with 2-4 large oranges on it.

At this point I have not decided yet. However I may end up strapping a two pieces of PVC pipe to the 15 gallon pot its in to give it some support for another year.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 7:06PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

So you're growing your tree in a container? Will that be its permanent situation? Just curious. Citrus can do great in containers.

We get some pretty hefty winds up in my neighborhood (It's called Breezy Knoll for good reason.) on a regular basis. We haven't had to stake anything planted in the ground, but most of my containerized plants sure do go topsy turvy upon occasion. We've had to invent a corral system for the nursery stock.

I have a couple of large containers with trees in them. I use Turface MVP and granite grit as primary ingredients in the potting mix. They aren't EVER going to tip over, I promise, lol!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:54PM
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Rhizo_1 here are some pics from different sides. The only reason I bring up the stake is because it came with one intitially in the pot.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:01AM
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    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:10AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

This little 'crook' looks like the graft union, to me. It is somewhat higher than is typical, but that's what it looks like. I can't really see anything lower on the trunk that might lead me to think otherwise. Should you ever see any new branches begin to form from below that graft union, be sure to prune them off right away. You don't want the root stock plant to take over your cultivar (grafted) variety.

By the way, just so you know....even if this was a case of a plain old crooked trunk, you couldn't straighten it. You'd just have to learn to love it!

Can't tell for sure from the images but is there a layer of your sandy soil (haven't seen that since I left SC!) piled on top of the root ball of your tree? If so, be sure to remove it. The top of the root ball should be completely exposed.

If you like, you can pull all of that extra soil closer to the root ball and construct a 'moat' around the roots. This helps to insure that when you water your tree (by filling the moat), the root ball will get the most benefit. You MUST keep that root ball moist during the establishment phase. If you don't intend to use that extra backfill, it should be taken away from site. Top dress your grass with it.

Studies have shown that trees need less water than people think upon planting. Provide a good soaking once a week, but supplement that with daily root ball watering with just a gallon or two. Keeping the area overly moist slows down the establishment process. Those roots should extend out at least three times the distance from the trunk to the edge of the canopy by the time a new tree is considered established.

In times of extreme heat and no rainfall, get the hose out more often. By the way, don't expect the measly little bit of watering from a typical irrigation cycle to be enough water for newly planted trees and shrubs. And don't increase the irrigation timing to accommodate the tree. In your climate and soil, you won't have to hand water for too awfully long. Maybe through the summer but that's even pushing it. They will take care of themselves if only we let them.

Don't fertilize upon planting. There is really no need to fertilize for several months (even a year) in most situations. When you do decide it's time, I'd go with a Citrus product, which will have the minor elements proven to be of benefit (or even essential) to citrus. Granular fertilizers can simply be broadcast on top of the mulch and watered in.

When you mulch you plant, be sure that you do not pile any on top of the root ball or trunk.

What's shading your tree? It does get plenty of direct sunlight, right.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 1:12PM
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