Aside from water and nutrients, your tree needs support during its early stages. Without support, it might end up being bent towards a certain direction for the rest of its life. Hence, a support of some sort is vital for your young tree.
When support means keeping your tree upright, the most popular method is putting long stakes into the ground on either side, and then tying loops around the tree. The loops should be reasonably loose to allow the trunk to expand further. Putting a stake on only one side of the tree is not a good idea, as it doesn’t allow for further growth of the tree.
You should stake your tree only if you think that wind and other forces might be moving the tree’s roots within the ground. By using a stake, you protect your tree from unnecessary and harsh movements, as they can extremely harm your young tree. Without a stake, your tree’s roots move too much, and thus won’t adhere to the soil and won’t develop as they normally would.
However, you should make sure that your tree needs a stake before you put one. You could harm your tree beyond repair if you limit its movement and growth unnecessarily. Staking can also leave abrasions on the trunk of your tree. Trees get abrasions normally, but not necessarily. Also, staking can make your yard look ugly. It can also be a hazard for people running or walking around your yard.
Staking your tree is quite simple. All you need to do is take 3 stakes and tie each one near the base of the trunk. To avoid injuring the bark of your tree, you can use a tether of some sort. You can purchase tethers especially designed to prevent abrasions or rope burn on your tree at any local gardening store. You should use tethers instead of tying bare rope on the bark of your tree, so you can spare your tree from unnecessary friction.
The tree loses some of its vitality each moment it is restrained. Hence, you should remove the stakes from the ground if you think your tree has been staked long enough to stand on its own. If it looks like the wind is dying down around your zone, be mindful of the weather reports and find out how much wind is forecasted. Once the skies start clearing up, you should remove the stakes, at least temporarily.
In summary, you should never deprive your tree of good support provided by staking. As a tree needs water and nutrition, it also needs support for it to grow steadily. However, you should know when to and when not to stake a tree. Unnecessary staking can be as harmful to your tree as not staking a tree that needs staking. To be on the safe side, you should consult an expert and seek advice regarding staking, whether you tree should be staked, and for how long.