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Plant supports

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Posted: 7/8/2014 1:32 AM

Plant supports 


We are having a fabulous spring and summer this year in Juneau, Alaska!  More sun and warmer than usual has made for beautiful gardens, apple trees full of baby apples!

Between my home garden and our church garden, I am troubled by taller plantings falling over, including columbine, dahlias, gladiolas, lilies, and garden phlox.  I have found some "half round" supports helpful for the columbine, but wonder what suggestions you might have for the other plants?

Priscilla
Zone 3-4 in Southeast Alaska
Priscilla
Zone 3-4 in Southeast Alaska
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Posted: 7/8/2014 7:29 AM

Re: Plant supports 


Priscilla, hi and welcome to the new gardening club.  Hope you will go to the New Member Forum and introduce yourself.  I see you already have your zone  and location in your signature and that's great.

My husband cuts stakes out of wood scraps that he has, depending on how tall he needs them to be.  We've had to stake my bee balm because it was falling over as was one of the hibiscus.  On the hibiscus he put a metal fence post because the plant is tall and it needed something really sturdy.  I'm surprised that your columbine is falling over.  Mine never do and I have them scattered out all over the flower garden.  For the glads I would think you would need something very sturdy as they grow rather tall.  We had to stake a hollyhock too. 

I'm sure that others will chime in with suggestions.  As always gardeners are ready to help each other out.  Browse around and enjoy!
Betty, Northcentral Louisiana, Zone 8
I asked God for a flower, and He gave me a garden.
I asked Him for a tree, and He gave me a forest.
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Posted: 7/8/2014 9:33 AM

Re: Plant supports 


Priscilla...nice to have you join us here!  We use a variety of staking things around our place.  My favorite and most long lasting are vinyl coated plant stakes.  Had mine for 20 years or so and still in great shape.  I bought them in 5' lengths, a good size so a foot or so can go down into the ground.  Mine are green so they blend nicely with plants.  Google on vinyl coated plant stakes and check out the types.   Mine have little bumps up and down the stakes so whatever one uses to tie the plant to the stake will sort of catch on the bumps and not slide down as easily as a slick rod.  You should be able to find these at a hardware store or maybe even a  nursery.  I bought mine from Gardener's Supply mail order before the internet took off. 

Fence posts we use for some of our huge ornamental grasses if they get hit with a windstorm. They come in green color now so they blend nicely with the vegetation.

My husband cuts stakes from his carpentry business wood scraps and cuts a point on the ends for easy placing into the ground.  You can get wooden dowels in various lengths and diameters at craft stores or hardware stores that work well but they'll eventually rot at the below ground end; cheap and effective for a quick solution but they won't give years of use.

Lumber yards sell wooden lath materials, 3/8" x 1 1/2" wide and many other dimensions that can be cut to length and a pointed end can be made at the end for easy placement into the ground.  If you have a access to a table saw, you can take 2 x 4s and such and rip your own to the size you need.  Never ever use treated lumber if staking food/garden items.

Hoping you can use some of these ideas for your staking needs.  
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.

Last edited 7/8/2014 9:35 AM by honeyBEE49

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Posted: 7/8/2014 2:15 PM

Re: Plant supports 


Thank you, Sarah and Betty, for welcoming me, and for replying to my question!

So when you say to stake the gladiola, do you mean each flower stem gets it's own stake?  What about the leaves that fall over?

My columbine lean over for two reasons -- wind and shade.  Juneau is stretched along the base of tall mountains right next to an ocean channel between the mainland and the large, mountainous Douglas Island.  Wind often "channels" right up the Gastineau Channel, which gives our plants plenty of "stimulation."  Some of the columbine are planted under a roof overhang or on the shady side of the house, and it seems the plants lean forward to get more light, perhaps.

Just to clarify, I'm not a new member or poster, just had taken a long hiatus from the bulletin board, then came to find the board has changed again, significantly.  Anyway, I have been a life member since probably 1996.  And I still value the friendship and sharing of knowledge and ideas that the NHGC forums provide!
Priscilla
Zone 3-4 in Southeast Alaska
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Posted: 7/8/2014 8:08 PM

Re: Plant supports 


Most or a lot of us are not new to NHGC but all are new to this forum.   Some had to change their usernames so we have asked that all introduce themselves.  If you will notice the posts on that forum, you will find a lot of lifers, etc.  A few of us have been regular posters since early 2000 but this is all a very much different bunch of gardeners.  I recognize a few from the old forums but a lot are from sports, handy, cooking, etc.  Was your username the same as it is now?  I'm not sure I remember it.  I've not missed posting online over the past 12 years or so and know or recognize most of the "old" members.  

On the glads, I've grown them but they just don't do well, but I would say you would have to stake each plant or the part that grows really tall.  You have to tie the plant to the stake.  My husband uses those plastic ties that you can get in huge bundles.  He uses them for all kinds of projects.  If you have some wood or tomato stakes, they would work for most of what you need stakes for. 
Betty, Northcentral Louisiana, Zone 8
I asked God for a flower, and He gave me a garden.
I asked Him for a tree, and He gave me a forest.
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Posted: 7/11/2014 9:36 PM

Re: Plant supports 


Since you have been a member for some time Priscilla, I will say welcome back!  I use two different methods of supporting my dahlias and glads.  One way is I use redwood or cedar stakes of appropriate length and I pound three (or four) of them in the ground around the taller dahlias or groups of glads.  I then use that green plastic, plant tying ribbon that comes in rolls and just wrap it around all three stakes which keeps the plants confined within.  As the plants grow, I just tie again a little higher as needed.  The second way to support them is using tomato cages if you can find some tall enough for your purposes.

Northern California Zone 9,  Praise for the sweetness of a wet garden.
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Posted: 7/12/2014 3:13 PM

Re: Plant supports 



Yes Welcome back JuneauRain, nice to hear that you are having a fabulous season (I always loved the summers in the North). I usually have 1/2" rebar on hand that I use for plant stakes and hose guards, I just cut them to length. I'm sure they could be painted but I don't paint mine...they seem to blend in good enough here. I just paid four dollars a piece for some 20 footers that had been slightly bent by the forklift driver at the local lumber yard.

Zone 9
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Posted: 7/13/2014 7:42 AM

Re: Plant supports 


Hi Priscilla. Glad you Alaska people are having a nice summer. God Bless you for living there. I hear you have to remove your car batteries in the winter every night and bring them inside? Is that true?

Anyway, about the stakes, my favorite is also what Sarah uses, the green, vinyl coated steel stakes. They come in various lengths and blend in with the plants.
I put them in or around some plants and use green colored twin to tie the plants. I keep them in the ground year round around my tall hibiscus and hydrangea. The blossoms on those get too heavy for the branches.
Depending on the plant, you can tie the individual branches, or encircle the whole shrub. For the smaller plants, you can use just one stake.
They sell them at Home Depot here, where they are cheapest. Every few inches down the stake are the little hooks that Sarah talked about, using those you can hook your twine for a stronger hold.
For large plants that bush out and need to be up off the ground because they grow over the edging, I use a decorative fencing, a bit more pricey, but it does the job and looks nice too.
I also had a great find at our local landfill. While dumping brush there, I came across a load of bamboo that someone had cut down. I loaded up my truck with every stalk I could get. I used the tallest ones to make a green bean fence, and the smallest for other individual plants. I love the bamboo.
Any wood will eventually rot if left in ground. But the steel stakes last forever.
Good luck.
Dawn.......Zone 6a.......Niantic, CT

Last edited 7/13/2014 7:46 AM by Kitkat45

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Posted: 7/13/2014 3:06 PM

Re: Plant supports 


Today seemed to be the day everything needed to be staked. Hours out there, but you know, every time we start something, we just get pulled away and do something else.
So today I ended up using all my steel stakes, decorative boarders, bamboo and pieces of rebar. Ended up going to the wood pile in the shed for some wood stakes. We keep the stakes sized pieces of wood we end up collecting over the years in an old, round, tall kitchen garbage can in the shed.........what ever works right?
Dawn.......Zone 6a.......Niantic, CT
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Posted: 7/14/2014 8:27 AM

Re: Plant supports 


Dawn...you got a heck of a bargain with that bamboo; husband was looking at a Gempler's July sale catalog and they had bamboo...first cut bamboo stakes, range in size from 3/8" diameter x 3' long at 500/$ 56.00 to 1" diameter x 10' long 50/$ 98.90.  Super poles go from 1" x 5' bundle of 100/$ 186.90, and  1 1/2" x 8' are 30/$ 126.00.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.
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Posted: 7/14/2014 2:56 PM

Re: Plant supports 


We have bamboo growing by the pond.

Kathy Southern Ohio Zone 6

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Posted: 7/16/2014 6:13 AM

Re: Plant supports 


I sure did make out with the Bamboo. I everything I could and have the long stalks tied up to the ceiling in my garage. No way I was letting those babies go. The smaller ones I keep in the shed, great for timing up smaller plants.
Dawn.......Zone 6a.......Niantic, CT

Last edited 7/16/2014 6:13 AM by Kitkat45

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Posted: 7/17/2014 6:16 PM

Re: Plant supports 


Hey there "neighbor"...I live in Fairbanks, AK.  I use all sizes of tomato cages for my plants, especially delphiniums!! The small ones would work well for your columbine and lilies.  For the dahlias, depending upon the size of the dahlia plant, I usually use the medium sized tomato cages and I put out the cages right after I plant the dahlia, whether its in the ground or in a pot, so the plant will "grow into" the tomato cage.  I stake all my delphiniums in early spring, when they are about 1 foot high, and use the largest, tallest tomato cages I can find!! It looks funny initially, with all these cages all bunched together, but after a meager 2 weeks, with all the sunshine we get in the summer, the tom cages are almost full!!! sometimes I run out of time and don't get all the delphiniums caged up in time, so then I invert the large tom cages and place them over the delphs, plus I stake down the cages to the ground so they are stable.
I individually stake each glad plant, it's a pain, but so worth it when they bloom for so long a time and withstand the wind!!!
We're getting all YOUR rain up here  in the "Golden Heart City", it's been breaking records left and right. Don't know HOW you live with so much rain all the time!!! Anyways, enjoy your fabulous summer, we're missing ours......
Deborah Koons
Fairbanks, AK
Zone 1-3


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