We are not talking of staking vampires or of Vlad the Impaler’s grotesque activities but of the need to provide support for our tall and more fragile plants. Many plants can easily support themselves but others will appreciate some help. The weight of fruit, flowers and foliage can simply be too much for them, especially in high winds and heavy rain.
Place stakes in position early in the season. This way you will not damage the plant or its root system and will provide support from an early stage of growth. Simply push the stake deep into the ground to make sure that it is nice and secure.
Bamboo canes are perfect for single stemmed plants such as tomatoes and delphiniums. The cane needs to be about two thirds as high as the plant will eventually reach. In time bamboo canes will rot and split. Plastic covered rods and PVC stakes will last longer but are more expensive and arguably less attractive.
Trees, standard roses and shrubs will need stronger stakes and sturdy wooden ones are the answer. Depending on variety and postion you will be able to remove this once the plant has matured.
Plants with several stems can be supported by a number of canes being placed in a circle, linked by twine looped around them at various heights.
Clump forming plants can be supported in the same way as above or use a special ring stake and raise it as the plant grows.
Stems will need to be secured to the stem in such a way that they will not be damaged. Not too tight so as to cut into the stem but not too loose so as to slip down and be ineffective. Some gardeners swear by using old stockings or tights whereas others prefer using twine or velcro tape. Whatever the tie is made from, secure it by using a figure of eight. This protects the stem from rubbing against the stake. As the plant grows the ties may need to be loosened.
Warning! Please do take care when using stakes, it’s all too easy to get a nasty poke in the eye. Cover the end with a cane topper, up-turned plastic bottle or even a small flower pot. Anything to protect those precious eyes!