I have talked to thousands of worried tree owners in my 30-year forestry career and they all might have benefited from reading this pictorial on human-caused tree problems. Read this and reassess your yard trees...
Do Not Love a Tree to DeathStaking and mulching newly planted trees seems to come naturally to even the beginning urban tree planter. Hey, both practices can be beneficial when done properly - but they also can be destructive when overdone or not done properly.
Staking and guying can make a tree grow taller, will anchor a tree in heavy winds and can protect trees from mechanical damage. Still, you must remember that some tree species need no staking at all and most trees need only minimal support for a short time. Staking can cause abnormal trunk growth, bark damage, girdling and cause a tree to become top heavy.
The tree pictured above is doomed to slow growth in addition to the haltering stakes. This light-loving tree is expected to grow under pines that limit it's sun exposure and will have poor health for the remainder of it's life.