Embarrassingly, I have bound disfigured trees to straighten their trunks after they are already installed and actively growing in their landscapes (no longer within nursery production). It is risky, and requires attention to detail, but can be effective if done properly. Of course, that sort of binding, although cringe worthy, is very different from neglect such as this.
Stakes are temporary. That is what so called maintenance ‘gardeners’ do not seem to understand. Stakes should not stay any longer than necessary, so need to be removed sooner than later, depending on their function. Stakes that are left too long can interfere with the healthy development of the trees and vines that they were intended to help.
Nursery stakes are used either to straighten the trunks of developing trees, or to support climbing vines. They must be removed when the trees or vines that they worked for get installed into the landscape, or as soon after installation as possible. Some flimsy trees may need their stakes for more than their first year.
The problem with leaving trees bound to their nursery stakes for too long is that they rely on the stakes for support as they grow, so do not put much effort into supporting their own weight.
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