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Giving Plants their Props

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Friday, September 13, 2019 - 7:00am

Your plants work hard in the garden, and staking keeps them from falling down on the job today on Southern Gardening

There’s been many times I’ve wondered why I should be staking plants in my garden. I mean, really? The plants have been around for a long time, and I think they grew just fine before we started growing them in our gardens.

Plants require staking for a variety of reasons. Sometimes its growing conditions. A plant that likes growing in poor or rocky soils may grow just too fast and not develop a strong stem or root system. Or a plant that is normally a full sun plant, when grown in the shade, can develop a stem that stretches trying to get to better light.

The plant breeders are also at fault. They are developing plants with taller stems and bigger flowers. And on windy days, these top-heavy plants need the support of stakes, or else they just topple over. And we sometimes use stakes just to keep the landscaping bed looking neat. 

Many plants would grow just fine allowed to sprawl and spread out as they grow. The growth habit of plants will determine what kind of staking to use. Plants with many branches on a single stem, such as Baby Breath or Thryalis, would benefit from a single stake. A multi-stalk stake like eupatorium, should have the stems corralled using a cage wrapped the plant. And if you get tired of putting stakes down in the garden, select a sturdy landscape plant, and just let the others lean on it for support.

I am Horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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