Sharring experiences in urban infrastructure delivery.

Tree “Staples” in lieu of stakes and wires

By: Tom Davis Category: Sidewalk Features

TreeStaplesWalker ExposedCloseup.jpgIn downtown Houston in the past ten years we have planted hundreds of trees in new tree wells. Along with the streets being lined now with leafy plumes we have, in most cases, the three tall stakes with twisted wires through hoses around the trunk of each young tree. The support is absolutely necessary with the occasional strong winds in Houston–particularly when the wind is channeled through the buildings and the streets become wind tunnels. But, the stakes-wires-hoses are unattractive, interfere with opening car doors and pedestrians on crowded sidewalks must dodge them. An alternative is the Tree Staple.

Two advantages to using the staple are the stakes/wires/hoses are not in the way and they do clutter up the new view. TreeWellWithStakes2.jpgThe disadvantage is when some of the trees blow over righting them and driving the staple back into place only pushes the staple back into the same hole it was driven and it does not regain the original pull-out resistance. Therefore it takes less wind the next time to push the tree to a leaning position. You can remove the staples and rotate the pattern of the two or three staples but then the root ball has more penetrations and understory is damaged. The point here is that pushing the tree back into a vertical position–possible if recently planted–and pushing the staple back into the ground does not recreate the original degree of stability. Careful excavation, with root pruning, then rotating the tree loosens the dirt so the staple does not have the same “hold” it did originally.

[Be sure to click the images here to see a larger version where the horizontal steel bar with the pipes at each end of the staple can be seen just above the Asian Jasmine ground cover]

When you go to the “tree staples” link above you will find it takes you to the company that makes the “staple”. TreeStaplesWalker ExposedCloseup2a.jpgThere are directions at that site about the installation. Keep in mind the value in maintaining the tree in an upright position is dependent on the resistance of the long side of the staple from pulling out of the dirt. That resistance comes from the amount of undisturbed dirt and the type of dirt that provides friction to to the long-side pipe that resists the force of the wind trying to rotate the root ball thereby pulling out the staple. Also note they recommend installing three staples at each tree in a location where strong winds occur.

This blog is not intended to promote that company or cast doubt on the value of their product. The intent is only to share the experience as they are a good solution in many cases. In many locations the trees did not rotate/lean so the staples must have worked. Not having to look at and deal with the tall stakes-wires-hoses is very nice.



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