Leyland Cypress trees catch a lot of wind! A deciduous tree like Maples or Oaks have leaves that turn on edge to let the wind pass through, but Leyland Cypress and Thuja Green Giant trees catch the wind. It is important to use the appropriate stakes and tie material for each tree size and also important when they should be removed. For Ball and Burlap trees especially, the trunk to root system connection will have loosened due to loading on the truck, transport to your location, and unloading. Properly staking them will allow that connection to re-tighten and also they will be straight when established. Explained below is exactly which stakes to use, how to secure them and where to purchase the material I recommend. Proper staking is one of the most important steps for success. Don’t waste your money on mulch and invest it on securing your privacy screen trees.
Ten feet and higher trees should be staked with six feet metal fence posts so that each tree is secured in three or four directions. Allowing them to rock back and forth, it will break the root to trunk connection, and a percentage of the trees will die. Ball and Burlap trees from 10 feet through 25 tall should be staked with tree tie webbing from am Leonard item LT500G, the green color is my favorite. It is easy around the trunk yet still has 900 pound test strength. Landscapers have used have used rebar wire or aluminum electric fence wire pushed through two feet sections of garden hose for years which will work for smaller Ball and Burlap (B&B) trees up to thirteen feet tall, but is not strong enough for larger trees and also takes lots of time and dull knives cutting all that garden hose. I always return one year later and collect back my tree stakes and it is very important to cut the tie material from around the trunk. An Arborist knot is best that will hold on but permit some stretching when you secure around the trunk but I also wouldn’t be convinced your helpers used it faithfully on each tree. If you are faithful and remove the tree tie webbing after one year, the tree will not be hurt even if other knots were used.
Fourteen feet and taller trees are best staked by securing the tie around the trunk midway up from the ground (or as high as you can reach) up from the ground. For trees this top heavy, you should not tie to a metal fence post directly in front of the tree because as the wind rocks the tree it will pull the stake up. If you use six feet metal fence posts on trees this size, secure the tie from each tree to the bottom of the tree stake right at ground level in front of the next tree along the row. If you had trees spaced at eight foot on center, and reached up and tied the webbing nine feet high on the trunk, your lines would be at forty five degree angles. Long Island landscapers use four inch diameter pine poles available from Lynch’s garden center in Southampton. Drive in the ground at 45 degree angles away from the trunk. These are strong stakes but still the lines should be tied up midway on the trunks and the lines should be at forty five degree angles for strength to the stakes. Smaller Ball and Burlap trees can be staked with three ply poly twine, it usually comes in white and has a plus in that it rots away after one year. This is great for landscape jobs a good distance away that you might not want to return just to release the tie material.
For seven feet tall B&B trees in twenty-two inch root-ball you can stake with two inch by two inch hardwood stakes six feet tall and use the poly twine or tree tie webbing.
When planting ten gallon size container grown trees five tall I use 1inch diameter 8 feet tall bamboo stakes they can be purchased for around one dollar each. For this application, use a post driver tool and drive the stake down through the root-ball into the ground beneath and use the poly twine. You won’t have to return to the job and collect the bamboo stakes, the portion underground will be rotten by that time and the ply twine will have rotted away as well. After six months walk the row of trees and re-tie anywhere the twine has rotted away, so for fall planted trees re-tie in spring.