Pruning and staking your trees for the monsoon

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- As the monsoon approaches, it is important to check on your trees and how they are doing in growth and health after the winter season.

You want to allow proper air flow between the branches of the trees as winds pick up so that they don’t end up pulling your tree out of the ground and potentially causing damage.

If you just planted a new tree, no pruning is required as you want to allow it to grow and not potentially put it into shock. But with other trees that have been established, you want to check for certain factors like cross branching, and burnt/dead spots from potential frost damage, these areas should be removed.

Also any obvious sign would be an obstruction to a walkway around your home or potential branches that are near your home that could also potentially cause damage if something were to happen and the tree gets up rooted by the winds.

It is also important to not shape or style your tree because it is not a natural style of growth for the tree and you could potentially enable it to tip over in high winds.

Staking your tree only occurs when you have recently planted a new tree. You generally don’t stake a mature tree.

To properly stake a tree, you want to place the stakes on the outside of the root ball and perpendicular to the prevailing winds. Nursery stakes should be removed by this point as it is not needed. When tying down the stakes, you want place it at a location on the tree that will still allow some swaying motion but not too much.

You generally leave the stakes in for one to two years or depending on what season it was planted and what season is approaching. If a year has passed and the monsoon is approaching again, you can leave the stakes in to make it through the high winds and then remove them. Any longer could potentially hurt the tree so avoid leaving them on for too long.

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