· Brent Wilson's Answer
· Hi Lynn,
Drake Elms do have a tendency to topple over from high winds when planted in loose and/or damp to wet soil, or before they have established a solid root system in any type or consistency of soil. Many other trees will do the same, especially very fast growing trees. The staking will definitely help the elm tree to grow straight up until it has become better established. It may require three to four stakes, spaced evenly around the tree, to do the job. One or two stakes would still allow the wind blowing from opposite directions to cause the tree to lean.
Here's an article that provides instructions for staking a tree:www.gardenality.com/Articles/890/How-To-Info/Techniques-and-Methods/How-To-Stake-A-Tree/default.html
If you fertilize the tree, use a very slow-release shrub & tree type fertilizer or very mild natural plant food. Avoid quick-release fertilizers high in nitrogen (the first number in fertilizer). High power fertilizers will cause too much top growth and leave your tree more susceptible to wind damage. This tree grows fast enough without much fertilization.
Also, allow the tree to grow naturally without any pruning. Only remove damaged branches. When allowed to grow naturally the limbs will be further spaced and this allows wind to pass through the canopy with less resistance.
I think your tree will be okay if you follow these guidelines. For now, proper staking will be the most important thing you do. Let me know if you have any further questions.