What Does Staking Mean?
In horticulture, staking refers to inserting a stake beside a plant in order to provide it with support while it grows. Tomato plants are perhaps the most commonly staked plant in household gardens, but there are others that benefit from support.
Staking requires very little in the way of materials. A wooden stake and a mallet or hammer is really all that’s needed. Some growers also use metal stakes or bamboo stakes, and many growers tend to use whatever is lying around the house in a pinch. For example, old broom handles, leftover PVC pipe from another project, and so on.
Maximum Yield Explains Staking
Many garden plants require a little bit of help when it comes to stability and remaining upright. Tomato plants are infamous for their need to be supported when growing, and to help avoid bent or even broken stems. This is even more important once the plants begin fruiting, as the added weight of growing tomatoes can break branches, or the stem itself.
To stake a plant, drive the stake into the ground next to the plant that needs to be supported. Next, take a loop of string and tie it loosely around the stem of the plant and the body of the stake. Make sure the string is not too tight, or it can abrade or even strangle the stem.
Staking potted plants is a bit different. Place the stake in the pot before adding the plant. Gently insert the plant root first into the pot, and then add soil around the roots and the stake. Next, tie the plant and stake together loosely.
A related practice is caging. Again, tomatoes are probably the most obvious example. Cages can provide better support for the full plant than stakes and string, but they are more expensive, and they can be easily damaged if not inserted into the ground gently. Trellises can be used in place of cages or stakes in many instances, as well.
Staking is not required for short, stout plants.