Just been introduced to your site, looks like plenty of interesting reading coming up
We've just put down two plum trees, one being an Amber Jewel, and I can't quite remember the other. The Amber Jewel is just over six foot tall, and is long and skinny. It came with a bamboo stake in the pot, which is till attached. My question is, should I stake the tree more, as looking out my window now, it is taking a hell of a battering from the wind, beyond the bamboo stake. The base looks secure and stable.
When I moved into my house about a year ago I planted two plums; an angelina and a greengage (cross polinators). I didn't use a stake for either but they aren't really "long and skinny" type trees.
IMHO the stakes that are provided with plants in pots are by and large absolutely useless - those skinny little bamboo things do absolutely nothing to hold the plant upright in the wind. If you are looking at a plant and worried about it bending in the wind I'd say that's as good a reason as any to go and get a proper stake for it (I bought a 6 pack of wooden stakes from a junk store for roughly $10). Just make sure when you put it in you don't do too much damage to the plant's roots. Also check regularly to make sure that the ties (that hold the plant to the stake) aren't becoming too tight and strangling the life out of your plant.
Also I would only use a stake a a temporary measure until the plant has grown strong enough to stand on it's own (for examply my thornless lemon was staked for probably about 6 months).
Avoid staking trees at all costs. It's a really poor horticultural practice.
If staking is needed it means the tree has been grown poorly in the wholesale nursery.
Best to prune back and shape the small tree. That lowers the centre of gravity and makes the plant stronger in the future.
Then rather than offering a stake for support, drop in three of them around it. Attach something soft around the outside of all three stakes. That way the tree can move back and forth but never break. It will get very strong, very fast. Then remove the stakes after 3-6months.
End result is a very robust and far healthier tree.
Again, staking is one of the single worst practices where tree planting and growing is concerned. It is perpetuated by blind ignorance by professionals or poor horticultural training. Yes councils, landscapers, Gardeners, commercial growers stake trees but good arboriculturists will cringe at the sight of it.
Kings Park here in WA is doing some excellent research on this subject.
Visit petercoppin.com.au for more on growing fruit trees as well.