I planted a young weeping willow tree in the spring and staked the 1/2" trunk. I have kept the trunk tied closely to the stake to keep it from bending over and/or breaking. It is now 1" in diameter but not able to stand up straight on its 0wn. The limbs are touching the ground but when the trunk is loosened from the steak is bends and blows in the wind. How long should I stake my tree? How big around should I let the trunk grow without the help of it being straked? Will it snap in half? the limbs touch the ground. Should I trim them?
Weeping Willow Tree
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Staking is fine as a temporary measure, but the tree will eventually need to develop the trunk strength to stand on its own. When the tree blows in the wind, its trunk is induced to grow stronger.
Also make sure the stake is not directly touching the trunk. It should be a foot or so away, driven securely into the ground, and should be fastened firmly to the trunk with non-abrasive material such as bicycle tubes or an old garden hose. Two stakes can also be used on either side. Remove the stake either next spring or next summer.
You can also prune the long branches to take off some of the weight. This article has general advice on pruning willows: