Staking a fruit tree is an important part of the planting process. When fruit trees are young, they are susceptible to breaking from harsh winds and heavy fruit. Staking the fruit tree protects the trunk from damage and keeps it strong until it is able to stand on its own and support itself. The process of staking a fruit tree is relatively simple, and takes little time, but taking the time and effort to do it can extend the life of your tree.
Purchase a plant stake that is 2 inches by 2 inches square, and between 8 and 10 feet long. If your tree is a smaller fruit tree, and is not expected to grow to more than 6 feet high, you do not need to use such a tall stake. Instead, you can use a 4-foot stake and drive it 1 foot into the ground. .
Measure out 12 inches from the apple tree and drive the stake 2 feet into the ground.
Take 3 feet of No. 9 wire and run it through 18 inches of old garden hose.
Place the hose around the trunk, and then tie the wire end around the stake, making a figure 8 between the trunk and the tree. The Home Orchard Society recommends securing the hose approximately 6 inches above where the trunk begins to flex. Cut off any excess wire after it is securely tied.
Leave the stake on the tree for life if you are planting a large apple tree; otherwise, smaller apple trees and fruit trees may only need to be staked for one to three years.