Effects of Tree Stabilization Systems on Tree Health
and Implications for Planting Specifications
Kendra J. Labrosse, Robert C. Corry, and Youbin Zheng
Abstract: A tree stabilization system (TSS) is specified to promote stability and maintain tree posture at transplant. However, staking and guying can compromise tree health. The authors of the current study have investigated the effects of such stabilization systems on trees to inform urban forest planting specifications. Visual symptoms for tree health were recorded for 488 trees with and without TSSs in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Results showing symptoms of stunted growth, death, and pest/disease were fewer on trees observed with TSSs. Health was negatively impacted by TSSs by producing more symptoms of girdled trunks, swelling, and wilting. Trees planted on public land were found to benefit from being stabilized while trees on private land expressed more negative health effects when observed with trunk support. Implications for urban forest professionals include limiting tree stabilization practice to site conditions where their use is warranted along with timely removal.
Keywords: Guying; Staking; Transplant; Trunk Support; Urban Forest.