I have a redbud tree that has been in the ground for about 1 1/2 years, two winters. The planter staked it. Should I remove the stakes?
Staking is done to help the tree establish itself in the ground and keep the wind from blowing over a new planting.
The staking should have enough play in it for the tree to sway. The tree needs the wind to blow through it to help strengthen the roots.
Has the tree grown and has a well developed canopy? Is your soil stable?
If you don't feel comfortable removing the stakes completely, make sure it is loosened so the tree began to wean itself from the stake.